Frances Kakugawa
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

(Photo by Just Clicks With a Camera/


The poets, in droves

Lick their pens, salivating

Over metaphors, turning

Death into life. It must be

National Poetry Month.

To dear Ukraines,

Each time a poet

Puts pen to paper,

There is a sliver of hope

For Peace.

The Pen

I was but a child

When I wrote my first line of poetry 

That senselessly rhymed.

I innocently thought 

It would be my ticket

Out of God-forsaken Kapoho:

A ticket away from kerosene lamps,

Outhouses, battery-run radios,

And Pidgin English.

A ticket to Greenwich Village, New York City,

Paris, and Stockholm, Sweden. 

Little did I know

That poetry would help me embrace

Each Ukrainian standing tall

To the minuscule monstrous thief.


Under Putin’s rain

A dove spreads its broken wing

Blackened, bent with pain.

The call of a child

‘Neath the once horizon blue

Beckons one-winged flights.

The flapping of wings

Against Putin’s bloody rain

The one-winged dove soars.


The thunderstorm sends flashes of fire

Icy, cold stones of hail…

A sunflower seed cracks open it’s shell

Pushes, pushes, through fire and ice

It’s first sign of life forth

Toward the promised morn…

Soon, soon, from Kyiv to Mariupol

From Lviv to Odesa

A thousand sunflowers

Burst into the new morn.

Pearl Harbor

Under the rising sun

The enemy came

Wearing my face.


We sliced the chrysanthemum

Off its stalk

And left it naked in the sun


Over the ashes of Hiroshima

Our victory was hailed.

Beneath, my ancestors lay buried.

Frances Kakugawa is a former Hawai‘i Herald columnist. She was her mother’s primary caregiver during her five-year journey with Alzheimer’s disease. A native of Kapoho on Hawai‘i island, she now lives in Sacramento. Frances has melded her professional training as a writer and educator and her personal caregiving experiences to write several books on caring for people with memory-related illnesses. She is a sought-after speaker, both in Hawai‘i and on the Mainland, sharing strategies for caregiving, as well as coping with the stresses of caregiving.



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