A Kailua-Kona Contest

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In summer, triathlon athletes compete,
Biking, swimming and on their feet,
Here at Kona Harbor;
But this was nature's winter meet
At the Big Islands leeward shore,
Briskly buffeted by a breeze.
Slim palm fronds,
Multiple blades like scissors,
Vigorously clipped away
At fragments of sky.
The stately, ringed trunks below
Easily survived the blow,
Locked upright in the life-grip
Of toes plunging deeply
Into magma leavings.
The swaying green giants
Have weathered tsunamis
But are old and shaped
By arboretum osteoperosis;
Spines bent seaward
By storms that ply
Off nearby high Hualalai.

These were not the usual
Trades from windward
And mauka from Hilo
But tempestuous flows
Heaving up Pacific swells
--A southern rout--
Thrusting flower petals about
A shoreline of cinder cones,
Ebony lava stones
And sturdy sea wall.
Indeterminate birds very small
Bucked the invisible glass ceiling,
Spinning and reeling.

It was also poor timing
For a few butterflies
--Who knows much about their priorities?--
Fluttering erratically,
Often more side to side
And standing on their head
Than toward a southern breather;
But somehow moving ahead,
Though in scant feet
That mark butterfly miles.

Freed from the harbor pier,
A lurching launch appeared
With "Ironman" skin
Calloused from salt seas
And lined with passengers within
Its rails; motor responding
With a growl
To the front's incessant howl.
The craft took aim and brusquely
Shoved aside the unruly
Chopped-top, slapping crests;
Ignoring the bully
Forces of wind-and sea-power
To forge a steady
And more definable path
Than the winged creatures
With so much less horsepower
In their tiny engines.