Maui by
(28 Stories)

Prompted By Fire

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There are no words


There are no words

as we watch them,

as we turn the channels,

the devastation inflames our concepts of family,

neighbors who die

while the screams of their babies

encircle the ashes around them,

all their beloved pets killed in front of them,

as the homes they built

collapse in the second sound bite 

of an ad mogul’s draw.


Lahaina, this earthly paradise gone, completely.

Lit up like match-sticks on paper shelves.

A horrific natural disaster compounded

by the corruption of (what else?) capitalist greed.

Firefighters stopped dead in their tracks

by useless hydrants, empty hoses, a waterless pipeline.

as Hawaii’s top plantation owners fuel their resources,

continue to refresh their lush green golf courses  

with the salted water of a martyr’s tears.


There are no words

Mine, are feeble and immensely weak.

I could never know the pain, 

the ravishing heartbreak, the terror.

All I can do is hurt for them

Cry with them, pray…

and to give of course,


the easiest thing to do

Profile photo of Patricia Valese pattyv

Characterizations: moving


  1. Thanx Patty , of course we all
    must give what we can.

    I called my cousin Chiho – she lives on Oahu thankfully, out of the danger, but too close for comfort and I had to hear her voice.

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    You are correct, Patty. There are no words. The founders of Retrospect lived on Maui for many years. I spoke with Patti on Wednesday morning. She could barely contain her grief as she told me her friends who lost homes (they, mercifully, were not at home at this time). Of what was lost on Front Street. How close they had lived to this devastation. There are no words…

  3. Patty: your style always captures the experience for the reader.
    We were married in the court house in Lahaina and stayed in Kihei many times. The joy of our wedding and our vacations has taken on a new and tragic meaning when we look at the effects of the fire today.

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    Beautifully and heart-wrenchingly said. Thank you. And may you indeed never have to know that same pain.

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    Your words are powerful and I will give right now as a gift for my son-in-law’s birthday. We stopped giving material gifts to our children, who have enough. Instead, we donate in their honor. Thanks for the links.

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