Featured Poet:
Young-hee Won,
Seoul

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Young-hee Won lives and works and writes in Seoul. Here is an excerpt from one of her recent poetry notes: 'Your subject "life's vicissitudes" makes me think lots of things. Yes, I miss the sea and the unpolluted forest if these could exist in this earth under this heaven. Seoul and London, as much as other big cities, are miserably dirty in many ways. Then why can't we leave the city? You know what? The reason is "I love Seoul as much as you love London". I am writing my dissertation and this semester teaching 17th-century poetry, especially the Metaphysical Poets: John Donne, Andrew Marvell, Herbert, Vaughan, . . . and Milton, too. I love it all except the busy schedule. College kids always seem full of too many questions, which is better than nothing, . . . I mean their being too silent.'

Children by the sea
Live their wavelet days
Running, giggling on the sand.
Their parents cope with stormy days
Fighting but forgiving on the sea and in the wind.

We who live in the city
Die from the beginning
Here on the 63rd floor* in the sky.
We perhaps never really live before
Seeing the blue sea beyond the grey sky.

Children by the mountain
Live their green days
Laughing, rolling in the glade in the forest.
Their parents live their own eternal days
Hiding and seeking among the fallen leaves within the woods.

We who live in the city
Cough until the end of time
In the streets of dusty Seoul or London.
We perhaps never really die before
Seeing the blue sky beyond the grey of the skyscraper.

* the highest building in Korea



Poem © 2002 Young-hee Won. All rights reserved.
Page realisation and photographs© 2002, 2003 Sally Crawford. All rights reserved.