W.S. Merwin puts a blueberry on the railing of his lanai for a cardinal that visits him every morning at his home in Peahi.
Cardinals, doves, thrushes and other birds sing and flit through the forest filled with thousands of palms and other trees that engulf the renowned poet’s quiet and peaceful home. Mosquitoes arising from water in bromeliads and palms and pockets in the dry bed of the Peahi Stream buzz bomb and bite.
Walking down the steep trail, partly formed on old pineapple furrows, 2,740 palms of all kinds fill the landscape, as many as 50 species visible at a glance. There are palms that shoot to the sky through the forest canopy. One has a fur coat to protect it from the Himalayan cold. Another has sharp thorns that may have helped fend off dinosaurs.
The cardinal likely makes his daily visits because of the labors of the poet, not to hear his poems, but to fly through the magnificent forest Merwin meticulously nurtured from the Peahi scrubland he bought 40 years ago. The ecosystem was built palm by palm, using only hand tools. His wife, Paula, later joined him, planting the ground cover that helps the palms flourish and dresses up the brown Haiku clay.
It is said the walking irises were in full bloom the day before she died in March.
Read more at Maui News.