Category Archives: Pause for Poetry

Moʻo Poetry

I like using poetry for writing, and not always have to write my own, so part of this project should be about collecting pieces even if I don’t know how I will use it.

This one is by Victor Hugo, he of Les Miserable  and Hunchback of Notre Dame fame. It’s called “June Nights” and it’s June, and the nights have been full of termites, so I want to collect this different look at June

In summer, when day has fled, the plain covered with flowers
Pours out far away an intoxicating scent;
Eyes shut, ears half open to noises,
We only half sleep in a transparent slumber.

The stars are purer, the shade seems pleasanter;
A hazy half-day coulours the eternal dome;
And the sweet pale dawn awaiting her hour
Seems to wander all night at the botom of the sky.


Hōkūleʻa by Vernice Weenera




We have all watched

with some misgiving

the ocean of possibilities

beyond our doors,

wondering, in our complacency,

whether we had courage enough

to chart a course

to farther islands.

No one of us

can yet walk on water,

and so few ever try,

knowing the fragility

of the sea’s soft skin

and the hook of fear we feel

within our very human lives.

So it is with some rationalisation

that we watched your proud sails

turn toward Tahiti.

We were not with you

for a multitude of reasons,

yet we watched, fascinated,

and something deep within us

stirred with pride

and we put aside

the mundane happenings

of our comfortable lives

to watch the Star of Gladness

tack across the sky.

We watched.

we saw the rain we had not seen

for many balmy weeks

come slanting off the ocean,

its arrival appreciated as always

for the promise of sustenance

it brings to these islands,

and no less of its blessing

on a launching of Hōkūleʻa.

We watched

as an ocean

whipped suddenly to spray that stung

the salt-caked flesh of men

leaning against waves

steep as the Koʻolaus

risen abruptly from deep green valleys

and safe, placid fields,

muscles roped across their backs.

Āe, we watched.

And watching, felt at once

the poignancy of guilt,

the shattering of smugness

in lives that now know triumph

born of pride in Hōkūleʻa.



Vernice Wineera

In Honor of Poetry Month and Teachers

Poetry should be spoken. It should hum out of your vocal chords and rumble through the air like static electricity. In this poetry month, here’s to spoken word poetry and the teachers who continue to create miracles in the classroom.

“When I Become a Teacher” (02:17)

Sinnea Douglas was 18 years old and had just graduated from Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy (SLA) when she performed this poem to close out SLA’s keynote presentation at the ISTE Conference in 2011. She’s now at a university, studying to become a teacher.

To This Day Project — Shane Koyczan (07:37)

Canadian spoken word artist Shane Koyczan struck a nerve with his achingly personal poem about bullying; this phenomenal version, with animation from more than 80 different artists, went viral in 2013.

“Miracle Workers” by Taylor Mali (04:03)

Taylor Mali is sort of the poet laureate of teachers — he was a teacher for nine years and reached fame with his incredible piece “What Teachers Make.” Also notable was his now-complete 1000 Teachers Project to inspire and recruit new educators.

First-Grade Students Inspired by Spoken-Word Artists (03:07)

Following a week-long workshop by teaching poets Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye of Project V.O.I.C.E., even the littlest students at Punahou School were inspired to perform.

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Call for Participation: KS Edtech Conference 2014





For our April 17 K-12 Tech slam, “Digital Life,” if you are interested in presenting, please fill out a proposal form here. Submittal deadline is February 28, 2014.

If you went to a conference this year and are wanting to share something you brought back and used in your classroom, this is a safe, friendly venue to share out (part of our after conference kuleana).

Represent 🙂

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Day 30: Leaving China

Last one for the year. Until next year, aloha.

Leaving China

To say good-bye
Words sick at my heart
My tears would not drop out.
–Jia Hua Miao

Day 29: Flying in the Air

Flying in the Air

Words elude me,
hiding in spaces too far away
from my imagination.
All the things I used to know,
the little tricks I taught myself
to make poems out of blank spaces
and blinking cursors
betray me.

I find freedom in the restriction of 31 inches
of hard padding and a seat belt firm across my hip bones.
In this cage of aerodynamic steel
and fuel and cloud matter,
I find the words I need flying in the air,
trapped in canned air and five dollar snack boxes.
I tap them out on my iPad
void of tactile sensation.
I pay homage to the backlight of the screen,
write poems
in the limbo of neither here nor there
and like the caged bird
I find my voice again.

–Cathy I.

Day 28: The Slope

The Slope

“Who you again?”
Grandpa asks,
clear eyes,
the familiar crewcut
golfer tan.

“Me?” I ask, stifling the hurt.
“No, you’re Kanoe.”
He looks at Ken, brow creasing
searching for something right in front.
“I know you, yea? But ahhh, I cannot remember.”

“I’m Ikeda, Ken.”
My husband of 25 years.
I search Grandpa’s eyes
for some sort of recognition,
but it’s just a polite “oh, ok” then a nod
as his eyes shift over to the television
and we talk around Grandpa.

This is the man who could tell me
every baseball player he had ever coached,
every neighbor in the plantation camp,
and I know he knows
feels his memories slide down that slippery slope
and out of respect
and love
we both look away.

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Day 27: No Make Humbug

No Make Humbug

No make humbug
for other people,
shame you know,
you cannot bring shame to your family.
No act like you were raised by animals.
Somebody give you something,
make sure you give them something back,
and right away,
no wait too long
before you owe them
and make more humbug.
If you have to go to your friend’s house,
bring something for the family
and don’t go during their dinner time
before you make humbug
and they have to invite you eat with them.
If someone invites you out to eat,
order the cheapest, smallest thing
you can come home and eat later.
When you give koden, make sure you check with grandma,
she get the koden list.
Only give how much they wen give,
bumbye you make humbug,
no good be too uppity,
then they gotta give more next time
and you make humbug for the two families.
That’s how we were raised,
all of us sacrificing
our deepest cravings and desires,
sacrificing our American need to be
self-absorbed and frivolous
in order to fit into the bento box confines
of our Asian expectations,
unable to throw off the good Japanese girl yoke,
unable to cause any kind of “humbug” lest we
throw off the karmic balance
of the universe
and plunge our ancestors into the
eighteen levels of Buddhist hell.
 –Cathy I
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Day 26: San Antonio and other places

San Antonio, and other places

My brother is homeless again,
or houseless
living in a car somewhere in SoCal,
or a motel when my sister
finds him and finds the nearest
Holiday Inn.
He invites other houseless people to the motel,
a warm shower,  and semi-clean sheets.
He knows he could come home,
but he won’t.
At 35, his life continues to be one
short -term solution
after another,
all on his own terms
he carries his life in a bag,
the same way he did
when his mother put him on a one-way bus
to a Seoul orphanage with his sister.
I offer him jobs and a roof,
a ticket to Hilo,
but there are other adventures,
other jobs down the road,
around the corner.
He was a homeowner once,
perhaps that achievement
was a prison for him,
a heavy burden,
so instead I’ll dream of places
suitable to be houseless in,
where he can drive to,
or hop a freight,
live under bridges
or near the water he love so much,
I wish him San Antonio on the Riverwalk in fall,
riding the water cabs at night,
chasing ghosts at the Alamo
New York in the summer
lazy afternoons in Central Park
people watching in the subways.
I wish him Seattle in Spring,  San Diego in winter,
safety, shelter, warm hearts
and the soothing sound of the ocean
to calm his restless soul.
– Cathy I
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Day 25: The Kill

The Kill

Their 20 names and ages
were on cards as the singers
from The Voice
sang “Hallelujah.”
Simple, common, American names
Six-year old babies
their pictures on the latest People magazine
rascally smiles and missing teeth
they stare into the camera
with the promise of tomorrows
twinkling in their eyes.

The deaths at Sandy Hook are just the latest,
not the last,
not even the first time
adults have murdered children:
Hitler, Pol Pot, Bashar Al-Assad,
or worse, the children killed by their own family members,
unheralded, unknown,
insignificant outside of their own communities
20,000 American children in the past ten years
most of them killed by their mothers.
We are like animals
who eat their own young,
an instinctual mechanism to survive at any cost,
the mental illness,
the awkward loner,
the rage,
the accessible violence
the mechanism to kill
the pressure of a mother’s love,
“love never ends.”

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