My Heart Aches For My Homeland

My heart aches for my Homeland

Land of palm tree and sand
Land of hula and song
Land of plumeria, pikake, and ginger
Land of honor
Land of wisdom
Land of spirit

She is not the land of my ancestors
My grandparents arrived by ocean liner
Twenty years before statehood

I am outsider

And yet the Land holds me
Caress of wind
Blessing of rain
Ripe papaya, mango, banana
Offerings of life
Entwined in soul

We went barefoot to school
We honored the Land in song
We dug in Her dirt and climbed Her trees
We built model canoes from Her wood,
Wrapped offerings to the gods in Her ti leaves,
And cooked our food in Her sand.
We learned to love Her
with the souls of our feet,
the lilt of our voices
and the work of our hands.

I left home at eighteen
For college and the world beyond
I took Her for granted
When I return, no one recognizes me

But my feet remember
And my heart aches for my Homeland

We think we shape the Land with our hands
But it is She who wears down our rough edges
And holds us in the palm of Her hand

The Land does not belong to us
We belong to the Land
In all ways