how to become the sea & a farewell

tomorrow i leave for England to be with my family for 10 days. when i go to England i tend to stave off social media, my visits are short & i don’t take my laptop, i like tarvelling light. i go organic for a spell. moreover, my visits are for reasons other than to be home:
my grandma died recently after a long struggle & i just couldn’t miss the funeral or i would never forgive myself; so i have dropped everything to get home. she supported all my decisions, no matter how outlandish or wild. she helped me get money together for university & i would never have come to Korea & been able to do what i have done if not for her having been a financial & emotional crutch, throughout my life. she was a generous woman, with a strong character. someone i spent a lot of time with. someone who always pushed me to do as much as possible. she wasn’t rich, but what she had she shared so that i had choices. it’s odd to be coming to terms with a world, with a hometown that she won’t be there in as she always has been. so it is a time to be with people, a time to remember her energy & character.

i will resume in a couple of weeks. i hope that the relationships i have formed with people through blogging, are woven tight enough that we can pick up where we left off when i return. until then here is a poem i wrote recently.

daniel

(photograph by yours truly)

how to become the sea

i consider
walking down the old stone steps hewn
god knows when
with a chisel, into the waistline of the pier,
a lacquer of slime
making the last few steps especially treacherous.
the dicey waves,
foaming at the bit of their efforts ever
since those irregular steps were cut,
assiduously labouring to smother the uneven
concrete of the harbor;
what does it think it’ll achieve if by
some miracle it turns to ice or jelly
& makes it onto land

in a dramatization of some primordial re-run?
however, each time
the sea water stumbles in retreat,
from its frustration
a vacuum forms, a dangerous pocket of the harbor,
into which i’d either vanish,
or rise out of in some new guise of my old self.
having survived,
i’d title myself
: survivor of vacuums, breaker of tides.
to survive would be something
like finding an exit out of too much wishful
thinking. if i couldn’t survive,
i’d become just one more

object for the sea to grind
down to ornament, an object that loses
its land given right,
whose salt, calcium & various fluids
would become the seas own;
– red porgy & anchovy would swim through
the tunnel of my rib cage
fleeced with mossy kelp; coral & barnacles
would latch onto my hip
& leg bones; a crab might pitch up in my pelvis.
& my loved ones would gather
on the beach & weep before the sea, &
looking out at the ocean,
see me there- me, become the whole ocean.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Excellent poem, and my most sincere condolences. It’s good that you are going back to England since it is your filial duty to attend the memorial. Also, it is the filial tradition in Buddhism for family members to make merit and dedicate it to the departed within 49 days of death. Thus if it would not be too much trouble, I would suggest you do some good deeds specifically in her name, honor or memory.

    Moreover, I wrote a Buddhist Requiem poem some time back. Of course, it is probably not suitable to share since your family is most likely not Buddhist, but I would like to share it with you if you had not yet seen it:

    https://purelandsutras.wordpress.com/2016/11/01/requiem-hymn/

    Again, my deepest condolences for your loss.

  2. Beautiful poem, Daniel. Sorry about your grandmother- you are lucky to have known her and clearly been loved and supported by her.

    Let’s pick up on authenticity on your return. Our conversation on my blog seems to have garnered interest so I’ll try to post something putting your original question out there and linking to your blog sometime this week.Safe travels!

    1. Thank you. Yes i think we can still figure out a lot about authenticity together. I look forward to what you can discover.

  3. robert okaji says:

    It is indeed time to be among people, Daniel. Take care, my friend.

  4. You’ll be in my thoughts, my friend. Abrazos!

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