Poetry: finding your happy place…now with ukulele!

Kailua Beach, Oahu, HI. “I hear it in the deep heart’s core”

William Butler Yeats’ third quatrain of “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” (see below) talks about going to a happy place which exists in the “deep heart’s core”. His Innisfree, an uninhabited island filled with happy childhood memories is my Kailua beach. The iornwood burrs and the half-flowers of naupaka, the view of Popoi’a (Flat Island), a cup of black Lion Coffee from the Kalapawai Market at sunrise, the curve of the shore and the color of the water comes back with all the smells and sounds in need to take me far away from the maddening crowd. It’s the place I go in my mind when I when I need to find peace. I pick up my ukulele for that same reason; the practice of music is a place where “peace comes dropping slow “.

This spring, Daniel and I will visit the island of Molokai for the first time. I will be teaching a songwriting class at the Uke Ohana Molokai Retreat, April 5-9. Besides basic u’kulele techniques and song form, we will talk poetry: Ancient Hawaiian, contemporary, classical. Not every song has words, but poetry influences all songs, for poetry is the distillation of thought as music is the essence of feeling. It can be as naughty as a limerick, as simple as a haiku, or epic as the Aeneid.

Please join us as we immerse into Hawaiian culture and the beauty of the land. Breathing deep the warm, moist air filled with green and blue, letting softness and color return to the pavement grey of the city bleached mind. Finding a new happy place to arise and go to.

Molokai. Arise and go now.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree


I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

One thought on “Poetry: finding your happy place…now with ukulele!

  1. Lovely! There are some typo problems in the first paragraph.

    “Flat island” as we called it is “Popoi’a”, now a seabird sanctuary. I don’t believe it is used for the fireworks display anymore because of the seabirds. There are several “Kapu” signs on the island. I believe the fireworks are now done from a pontoon (sp?) that is floated out nearby the island, but I never was there to watch the fireworks at that time.

    When you look seaward toward Lanikai you can see two islands and are called the “Na Mokulua” islands, one is “Mokuki” and the other “Mokunui.” We just called them the “Mokulua” islands. The Fullaway’s lived in a house across the street from Lanikai Beach, directly across from the twin islands. Milly, David and Sally Fullaway would row their little boat out to the bigger of the two islands and spend the day. Jim and I went with them a few times and we would take a lunch with us and spend the day looking at all the fascinating things on the island. There is a natural pool on the east side of the island. When the storm waves washed over it, the pool was filled. A shark was washed into the pool and had to wait until the storm waves would wash it back out into the sea. We did NOT dangle our feet in the pool!

    Just some memories. Love you, Mom

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