All things Korean

I am a little embarrassed that I have discovered K-dramas, the vast output of Korean soap operas on Netflix. My favorite so far is Navillera (Butterfly) about a 70-year-old retired postman who has always wanted to study ballet. I like the glimpse into modern Korea they provide. I also have discovered a Korean poet whose sensibility appeals to me, Ko Un.  Here’s a sample of his work. I like how how he uses the gradual blossoming of spring flowers to knit his divided country together:

The News of Flowers

Spring. Everything’s liberated.
The news of flowers
eases the poverty of this world.
Throughout this fractured country
(some say it’s a pity,
others not so)
spring has come full force.
An azalea blooming at Cheju Island
in the very south,
after a few days
begins blossoming
across the sea
in Southern Cheolla
& Southern Kyeongsang.
A few days later
& it reaches the shore of the Han, mid-country,
& all along the Soyang River.
About a month later
around Hyesan
on the upper reaches of the Yalu, North Korea: blossoms.
At the end of May
about 2700 meters up
by a cold spring at the treeline
azaleas bloom in many colors.
This is enough.
One cannot wish for more.
Where could things be better than among the flowers of a spring day?
So with South & North: gradually, evenly.

translated by Young Moo Kim

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