E ho mai

by Edith Kanaka'ole

Original Language Hawaiian, English

E ho mai
Ka ike mai luna mai e

O na mea huna no eau
O na mele e

E ho mai
E ho mai
E ho mai

Grant us
knowledge from above,

All the wisdom
of the songs.

Grant us these things.

-- from The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology), Edited by Ivan M. Granger

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Years ago, when I lived in Hawai'i, I took a class in ho'oponopono. (If you sound it out slowly, it's not the tounge-twister it first looks like.) Ho'oponopono means literally "to make things right, to return things to harmony." It is a traditional healing method, but its emphasis is not on healing the body as it is on healing relationships, families, communities. If you think about it, what is the purpose of a healthy body except as an instrument to work for a healthier society? The small body serves the larger body.

As part of my training in ho'oponopono, I learned this chant. Hawaiian chant can be compared to Hindu mantra in that to truly say it properly can take a great deal of training. The inflections are important. The breath is important. Most of all, the sense of personal presence is important.

This Hawaiian chant must be said with force and with heart. It is a prayer, but it is not passive. It is a calling forth, a reaching out and a drawing in -- of wisdom, of knowledge, of truth. It evokes in us pono, rightness.

Try sounding out the Hawaiian. Slowly at first, until the sounds become familiar. Then louder, with confidence. Say it over and over again. Imagine repeating this chant in a group. Let it ring through your body and your day!

To hear it chanted, click here

Recommended Books: Edith Kanaka'ole

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology)

E ho mai