Ka Ipo Lei Manu - Queen Kapiʻolani

 

He manaʻo healoha
No ka ipo lei manu

He manu kuʻu hoa
Noho mai i ka nahele

ʻIʻiwi o uka
Polena i ka ua

ʻElua māua
I ka pō ua nui

Ua o Hanalei
Anu au maʻeʻele

Ua anu hoʻi au
I ka ua noe anu

Na hau o Maʻihi
`Au ana i ke kai

Na ulu o wehi
Pūnohu mai ana

Ke ʻala o ka hala
Hala o mapuana

Onaona i ka ihu
Ke ʻala pua loke

Hone ʻana i ka manaʻo
E naue kuʻu kino

Ko hiki ʻana mai
Hauʻoli kuʻu manaʻo

Haʻina ka puana
No kalani heleloa
King Kalākaua
San Francisco, Jan 1891
 
 
 
 
 
Queen Kapiʻolani
I have a feeling of love
For my cherished sweetheart

My companion is a bird
Who dwells in the forest

The `i`iwi bird of the uplands
Appears yellow in the rain

The two of us
In the night of great rain

The rain of Hanalei
I'm numb with the cold

I'm also cooled
In the cold misty rain

The hau of Ma`ihi
Swimming in the sea

The vegetation
Spreading out

The fragrance of the hala
Is borne on the wind

Sweetly scented
Is the fragrance of the rose

A sweetly recurring thought
Urges my body to travel

I am made happy
By thoughts of your arrival

Tell the refrain
My chief is gone forever

 

Source: Researched and translated by Lehua Kalima - In Hawaiian poetry, the sweetheart is personified as the ʻiʻiwi bird. Julia Kapiʻolani, the shy and retiring widow of Chief Bennett Nāmākēha, was one of the most beautiful women of her time and married High Chief David Kalākaua, Dec. 1863, who was elected king in 1874. A devout christian with high morals, her motto was "Kulia I Ka Nuʻu (Strive for the Highest)". Beloved by her people, distinguished by her charitable deeds, two missions close to her heart stood out: (1) she always raised money for the leper settlement in Kalaupapa to improve their living conditions, and (2) perpetuation of the Hawaiian Race. She wanted to establish a hospital for underprivileged Hawaiian women to have the best care for mothers and babies. Attending Queen Victoria's Jubilee celebration, 1887, in London, Kapiʻolani made many visits to hospitals and foundling homes and returned to Hawaiʻi with much enthusiam and exciting plans for her hospital. She raised $8000 and her most cherished dream was realized when Kapiʻolani Maternity Home opened June 14, 1890, on the site of the former home of Princess Kekaulike. Queen Kapiʻolani composed this song for her husband after he left Hawaiʻi for the mainland aboard the Charleston, Nov, 1890. Under great political stress, his doctors thought a change of climate would benefit his failing health. He arrived in San Francisco, Dec 4, and took up residence at the Palace Hotel. He toured southern California and returned to San Francisco the middle of January for medical attention. January 20, 1891, the King died at the Palace Hotel. His last words were "Tell my people I tried". He never heard this haunting love song. Copyright 1935, Miller Music Inc
Listen to Ka Ipo Lei Manu (He Manaʻo Healoha) on YouTube - www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTGHhif8EKE