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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, June 26, 2005

'Lahaina Noon' about a warm, clear feeling

By Wanda A. Adams
Advertiser Books Editor

Eric Paul Shaffer

Poet Eric Paul Shaffer moved to Hawai'i some years ago but continued to write primarily about other landscapes until his fifth published collection, "Lahaina Noon" (Leaping Dog, 2005) was released earlier this year. The title poem concerns the twice-yearly phenomenon in which the sun reaches its zenith directly over the Islands — an occurrence called a "Lahaina noon." It is, to him, a metaphor for poetry, which ideally creates a moment when "everything is clear. There are no shadows. It's all about illumination."

Shaffer is a 2002 recipient of the Elliot Cades Award for Literature. He lives on the sunset slope of Haleakala on Maui, teaches writing and is studying the Hawaiian language. "Maybe in 20 years, I'll try writing poems ma ka 'olelo Hawai'i, but I've been studying only for a few years. Nui ke kai, li'ili'i ka hoe (Big the sea, small the paddle)."

'Lahaina Noon'

By Eric Paul Shaffer

Today, I'm a shadowless man.
The sun calls me into the street,
and I walk alone into the light
of noon. The moment has come.

I stand quietly on Front Street
balancing the sun on my head.
My shadow crawls in my ear
to hide in the small, dark world

of my skull. The sun illuminates
the shadow in my skin, and I shine
like a second moon, reflecting|
all the light I cannot contain.

Reprinted by permission of the author. Poems for this column are selected by books editor Wanda A. Adams. This column does not accept unsolicited poems and considers only poems that have been previously published in an independent anthology or collection.