Robert Sward
Wedding Song

- for my daughter


1. Maika’i Kaua’i, Beautiful Kaua’i

White blue crayola-green island,
Emerald Garden,
circular
black lava, turtle shell Eden,
Eden with a thousand waterfalls,
sixty million year old “shield volcano,”
its weight sealing the fissure below.

Elvis was here for the filming of “Blue Hawaii,"
(“Hug me a heap,
love me a lot,
rock the hula, baby,
rock rock rock”)

At its center, Mt. Waialeale, 5,100 feet,
rain magnet,
wettest spot on earth.



Lovers in the movie “Thorn Birds,”
lovers in “South Pacific,”
and King Kong too
tearing up the landscape
looking for love.

2. The Groom

conjuror,
hazel-eyed magus
body of a dancer

“…birthplace of the hula
and home to Laka,
goddess of the dance.”

cloudburst, flower, tree

dream wish, dream forest--
remembered paradise--



“A saying and a binding,

birth of marriage
and prayer
for the green earth.”

3. The Bride Gives Directions

“Nothing marks the route,” she says,
my slender,
mercurial, dark hair,
dove-eyed daughter
facing east,
sunlit
facing in all directions,
all at once giving back light
in all directions.


Herself an Eden,
she is a garden
enclosed in a garden,
a fountain of gardens.

Calls us to Eden.

* * *
Wedding with fruit and stringed instruments,
wedding as awakening,

bisque white sea foam


white night-blooming jasmine,
water lilies
shaken by a breeze named
“scent-bearer,”
then a second breeze
and a third.

4. A Father’s Offering
head lei of close-pressed flowers,
a piece of star fruit,
a mango wrapped
in ti leaf.

Kamala, Lotus
sunlit daughter on a sun-struck island.


Kaua’i, Hawaii - September 9, 1999