As Lewis meticulously explains, his text here is an abridgment of an abridgment, based on Maria Leach's version of the Hawaiian creation chant ""The Kumulipo."" A collector of poems by children (Miracles, 1984), he here uses his own poetic gift to give a taste of the 2000-line original that is traditionally chanted at the birth of a royal Polynesian child, ""to meld this bond of human life with the very first stirrings of life itself. . .a deeply insightful portrayal of an indigenous people's concept of evolution."" Beginning in the ""Darkness of the Sun,"" there is a series of births--first creatures under the sea, later plants in the sea and on land, flying things (""the scurrying ant, and its child, the dragonfly""), roots, leaves, and finally men and women--and with them, light over the horizon and a glorious sunrise. The spare verse is a foil for Young's luminous colors, flowing free to create the simplest of forms on shiny black ground--as misty and elemental as X-ray photos, or the half-seen images perceived before dawn. An elegant, reverent evocation of the universal creation theme.