This clear, pure and entirely greaseless product, cannot possibly injure

Illustration by Will Grefé, 1919.


Notwithstanding, coconuts can injure when they fall from their trees. That’s why it’s unusual in Hawaii’s urban areas (such as, here, the Hawaiian Electric substation next to my neighborhood post office in Honolulu) to find a tall palm like this one that hasn’t been trimmed.

Any discrepancy between the expressed or implied contents of the above documents should be taken up with your insurance agent. I’d recommend Mr. Stevens of Hartford Accident and Indemnity, who once wrote a tree rider titled “Of Mere Being.” Conclusively, in the fine print (it was the last policy he published in his lifetime), it enumerates that

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,
A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.
You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.
The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

Three images at the foot

I hadn’t posed the ruins and I didn’t touch them. Long before I arrived, they had been dropped off at the foot of a tree in Honolulu’s Kawaikui Beach Park. They lay on their backs: the Queen of Heaven and the Archangel Michael, with the Lord Buddha on his lotus between them. The plaster they were made of was damaged.

Behind and above them rose a tree from the earth. Its hollowed trunk made a little cave where a little oracle might have dwelt, muttering, “Know thyself.”

But it was probably just wood.