I wrote a poem for my 3 year old niece Hadassah and it was written as a reminder for her that we, her family, will always be there to guide, love and support her throughout all her endeavors.

Photos courtesy of Saint Andrew Photography. You can view more of his photography work on his  Saint Andrew Photography facebook page. Alternatively, you can email him on saintandrewphotography@gmail.com.

IMG_7482 copy1
My 3 year old niece Hadassah.

The poem Hadassah includes some Tongan words and sentences. Below is a guide to provide those of you who are not Tongan with context prior to reading the poem:

Manatu’i = Remember

Talanoa = Stories

Vaka = Boat/canoe

Lali = Wooden slit drum

Manatu’i ‘ae akonaki ‘a ho’o tamai mo ho’o fa’e = Remember the advice/teachings of your Father & Mother

Pea manatu’i ma’u pe ‘oku mau ‘ofa lahi atu kiate koe = And remember that we love you very much

My niece Hadassah and I.

This poem is one that is very close to my heart and I hope that you enjoy reading through it. 🙂


©Maryanne Pale, 2012

At age 3

the world is yours to claim

as your story begins in the form of your very first handwritten account of your name

ABC’s by the time you learned to speak

with your Nena & Pa’s world brought to their knees

in prayer for you


read to learn but learn to read between the lines

because darling

life goes beyond the printed black ink

Faces are a lot harder to read

like reading glasses for eyes which are not weak

Be bold!

And know,

that your story will be a masterpiece

character is influential so you set that scene

for yourself

with the Tongan lullabies that your Nena sings

and the talanoa that your Mama weaves


you are a daughter of the Tongatapu night sky

constellations will illuminate your path

as a reminder

that you are

the star

of your life story


At age 13

your vaka will be filled with childhood hopes

anchored by your Grandparents’ migrant dreams

Manatu’i ‘ae akonaki ‘a ho’o tamai mo ho’o fa’e

and the sweet voices of your ancestral past

Legacies breathe life into your sails

as your vaka keeps to the rythmic beating of the lali

mast set high as you explore your horizons

fearlessly traversing through the South Pacific Ocean

the compass

is your heart

but Hadassah,

Be aware of where you cast your net

as you heave in life’s experiences

Be certain of what you choose to keep

as sharks will be lurking

If storms arise upon your vaka, just remember my call

“Navigating, Crusading, Pulsating Heartbeats”

as you prepare to conquer the ocean swells

If by chance you find yourself capsized in water

darling, on our backs you will stand as we swim you back to shore

re-set your course

set sail once more

and face the ocean’s roar


At age 21

womanhood will find you leaving common grounds in search for love

you’ll find that love needs love to grow

like your Nena’s garden

you are her rose

cared for through rain and sunshine despite the tangled weeds around you

Love blossoms

you’ll never find it at the bottom of a lipstick stained glass of wine

nor in the one who promises you change



love has many faces

whoever you choose your love to be


love waits

patiently for the one who will extend your life story

one of which your legacy will begin to take a life of it’s own

A new vaka

A new voyage


Be strong!

Pea manatu’i ma’u pe

‘oku mau ‘ofa lahi atu kiate koe!

Photos of Hadassah taken by Saint Andrew Photography.


  1. Beautiful words of wisdom that will shadow her life, sustaining her life in complete and wholesome stages which shall guide her for the rest of her life…that is a wonderful and treasured gift!

    1. Hi Wendell,
      Thanks for stopping by. I hope all is well with you. I appreciate your kind words. She is indeed a beautiful gift in our lives and I hope this lil’ poem will be something that she will carry with her as she grows up. Wishing you a wonderful week.
      God bless xox

  2. Love the poetry! I’m sure that Hadassah will enjoy your wisdom expressed in the poem as she gets older. The photography is wonderful. Andrew did a great job!

    1. It’s lovely to hear from you again. I hope you’re having a fab week so far. Thank you for your kind words, I truly appreciate it. Also, I agree with you, Andrew did a great job with the photos. My family and I are grateful to him. Enjoy the rest of your week.
      God bless xox

  3. What beautiful wise words Maryanne! Favourite is:
    “Love blossoms

    you’ll never find it at the bottom of a lipstick stained glass of wine”

    Hadassah and baby M are amazingly blessed to have you as an aunty.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s