I wrote this poem in an attempt to describe my experience many years ago while hiking the Kilauea crater on The Big Island in Hawaii, and then walking the rocky shore many miles away where the lava drips into the ocean. It reminds me that we are born and reborn again – transformed – through the changes, challenges, and transitions of our lives.
The Big Island’s belly shakes like it just told a joke –
full of itself, laughter bubbles up slowly as liquid lava,
hot magma from the center of the earth
oozing from it’s crater of a mouth, free at last.
Slowly, ever so slowly … not a sudden burst of laughter,
not an eruption, nor a rushing river of mirth,
but a subtle chuckle, like an inside joke,
only those in the know will understand.
The force of creation calls it forth, urges it forward,
pulls it slowly across the landscape,
drives it through the forests, the trees, the ferns,
leaving the mark of it’s scorching humor.
The punch line is long, crawling across the island, for decades,
finding a cliff where the land ends, and slowly seeping
into the salty water with a steamy sizzle
creating something completely new.
There at the edge of the ocean, at the edge of the island,
where fire meets water there is transformation:
Renewed hope, endless possibility, new land to sow.
New Hawaii. New America. New Earth.
Transformation is like that sometimes.
It sneaks up on us, like a belly laugh.
Jokes on us when we realize changes we most fear
sizzle and steam into new possibilities, new hope, new normal,
and then the jokes on us when we realize change never ends.