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Storyteller


Tinker
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Storyteller

Time has flown since
humuhumunukunukuapuaha’a *
swam from my fingertips
as I danced
the tales I was taught.
These same hands
built a business,
showed horses how to trust
and the babe
in my arms how to love.

Now spotted with age,
my fingers float
across a keyboard
placing phrases on a page
to tell my stories.
                ~Judi Van Gorder

* Hawaii’s state fish shown through the hands of the hula dancer by extending the left hand, palm down and placing the right hand on top with thumbs protruding on each side. The hands then undulate while the thumbs rotate. “when the humuhumunukunukuapua’a come swimming by” 

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Wow, that's quite a name for a fish--I enjoyed learning about it! The Hawaiian language certainly has to be one of the most inherently lyrical languages in the world. Your askerisked explanation was very helpful without being intrusive, although I was wondering abut the quote in there--are those lyrics to a song? Anyway, I so love 

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Time has flown since
humuhumunukunukuapuaha’a *
swam from my fingertips

--such a worderful evocation of a dancer's hands "becoming" the fish they portray!

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as I danced
the tales I was taught.

delivers a similar sense of the intrinsicness of the tales to the dance.

Your whole poem has a lyrical yet direct quality that seems so fitting to a Hawaiian native speaker. The concrete yet evocative power of these lines is gripping:

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These same hands
built a business,
showed horses how to trust
and the babe
in my arms how to love. 

Swiftly, they deliver the reader a sense of a multicapable, compassionate woman whose enterprises are all interconnected by a common thread: strength combined with sensitivity. I'd like to meet this woman!

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Now spotted with age,
my fingers float
across a keyboard
placing phrases on a page
to tell my stories.

What an interesting drama you have captured here, Judi: the trajectory of this woman's life coming full circle as she begins to write the kinds of stories that she used to dance. What gave you the idea? A concise, deft poem--I so enjoyed the craftsmanship.

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Hi AB,  Thanks so much for the kind words. 

I was prompted to write the poem after reading a message from someone vacationing in Hawaii.  She mentioned that she learned a new favorite word,   humuhumnukunukuapua'a and she finally could actually say the word.  When I was a kid, starting at age 7 thru my teens, I was a trained hula dancer and I performed with a troupe of dancers. We went all over the state of California.   One of the songs I danced to had the lyric "where the humuhumunukunukuapua'a go swimming by"  in rhythm with the melody it is very easy to say. The Hawaiian language is phonetic and you are right very lyrical.  It was a very long time ago but honestly when I hear certain Hawaiian words my hands almost automatically re enact the words.  That is one of the words.  I thought it would be fun to use the word in a poem, it is fun to say with both your voice and your hands.  I actually remember learning the gesture.  There were 4 of us hula dancers, I was the youngest, La Donna was a year older and then her sister Yvonne and another girl, Adrienne who were 3 or 4 years older. Donna and I got the giggles when we first learned the gesture with our thumbs rotating.   The song was  "I Want to go Back to my Little grass shack in Kealakekua in Hawaii".  I have shared here before that I danced as a kid.  I was such a tomboy that my Mom heard about hula lessons and thought it would teach me to be graceful.  I can still go into a vamp with ease.   I wrote a blog about my experience I will have to add it to  my blog here and add this poem.

~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Judi, that is so cool! Thank you for letting me into this fascinating aspect of your life. I love dance and I love culture, and you clearly got a wonderful window into both--one that continues to influence you to this day. That is so funny, too, that this all started out is your mom's attempt to make you more graceful! It sounds like it worked in that way, since the moves are now ingrained into your subconscious. But it also sounds like you got a lot more out of the experience than that. I didn't realize you had a blog here...I will have to check it out. 🙂

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I saw the long word in L2 and thought I would stumble when reading, but surprisingly it fit very well, and my read was surprisingly smooth. A pleasingly concise piece with autobiographical elements. I agree with A. Baez that your footnote was helpful and unobtrusive.

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Judi, Tony's been using the tags for a long time--it finally clicked with me that this is what I had been seeking.

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I usually tag a member when I mention him in a topic he's not participating in (not following) or if I think the member I mentioned is unlikely to notice or re-visit a topic to which he has already replied. If he has replied to the topic, I don't usually tag him, because he's probably following the topic (most likely will receive a topic reply notification) and would probably receive a double notification because of the tag. 

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Oh, true--good to be discriminating so as not to clog the inbox! That being said, I've witnessed many, many cases of a person commenting on a topic but then not acknowledging a response to their comment--whether because the response went unseen despite the topic reply notification, or whether in the addressee's effort not to pop the topic up to the top again, one can never know. Of course, any quote of a commenter creates a double notification to them, as well.

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23 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

Of course, any quote of a commenter creates a double notification to them, as well.

By default, I think yes. (I think I set it that way; I set all the defaults.) But I do think all members can change some options for themselves. They're very granulated. Click on your name at the top right, choose Manage Followed Content, then on the left for Forums, Topics, etc. and in Account Settings>Notification Settings. It might be elsewhere, too, I'll have to check.

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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6 minutes ago, Tinker said:

I still put in a vote for the Like icon. :ph34r:

^clicks LIKE :laugh:

 

And for all who are interested in adjusting their notification settings, click on your name at the top right corner of the site, click on Account Settings, then on the page that opens, look to the right and under Other Settings click Notification Settings. Scroll down on the page that opens, and there are tons of them you can choose whether to receive forum list notifications, email notifications, both, or none. Here's the one on mine for quote notifications:

notification settings.jpg

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Oh. Wow. If I'd seen this early on (as I may have), I'd long since forgotten about it. I hadn't realized I had so much control. Thanks, Tony!

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OMG! I remember that humuhumunukunukuapuaha’a * from a Little Rascals episode where Darla was singing a song with that "swimming by" phrase!

More than  just "phrases on a page", in your case. Tink! 😉 

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