Haenyo incident at Hallim Harbour (sometime after lunch)

Haenyo incident at Hallim Harbour (sometime after lunch)

…At a small harbor | old stone steps cut out with tools
or perhaps repeated use & weather.

She watches fish with silver bellies |
(Asian carp?) leap out the pristine waters like

a good idea which granulates into fuzz
before you have time to write it down

—one leap after another
a meter or so | the gulls watching.

She asks a fisherman nearby
why do they do it? She can’t make out

much of what he says | something about
“polluted water & noise from fishing boats”

which “rumble through the water.”
A gang of ajumma who work at a black-pig

BBQ restaurant | cartoon make-up & hair-metal perms |
tiger-print spandex & leather waistcoats |

crowded around something or someone
—“What’s everyone so interested with?”

A Haenyeo: Grandma of the Sea “heard music while diving”
a music not belonging to a time or even people

“no place on earth | a music played by gods”.
As if the ocean itself | changed into a god & sang

—“you cannot hear the sea talk in your heart.”
As if it bent sound into a form only the diver would hear

a singular moment in the history of that diver.
The sea lives they say.

“Many have reported such phenomenon | it is a blessing.”
Indescribably the lines of emotion tell in her old face…

16 thoughts on “Haenyo incident at Hallim Harbour (sometime after lunch)

  1. (Asian carp?) leap out the pristine waters like

    a good idea which granulates into fuzz
    before you have time to write it down

    I tend to avoid similes (you may have noticed). Too many poets fix bayonet, charge, skewer one, and bring it still wriggling back, to thrust it into the middle of their words and watch it die slowly. I prefer to show what the experience of barking my consciousness against something is, and I like to see that done. On the other hand, some (other) poets drop one in on you, and you think, “Oh crikey, that is just so fecking APPOSITE!” You just did that. The dissimilarity of granules and fuzz, but they both come somehow from disintegration, to sit together because of that rather than apart because of what makes them unlike each other. The whole idea of an idea that dies a-borning.

    Random Aquatic Voice Phenomenon. If it hadn’t existed, you would have had to invent it.

    As if the ocean itself | changed into a god & sang

    There, you did it again. Thank you. My attention is grabbed again.

    1. I have noticed you don’t use similes. I don’t think they are very fashionable, but they are a device for not only ambitiously developing an image, idea etc, but for encouraging a depth of reading, having the simile work as a response to the stimuli of our barking consciousness. Admittedly, they are not something you want to do wrong, because done bad they really show, like a bloodied nose, right there on the front of your face. But I am very careful using them. Very, very careful. I see them misused all the time, as if just using them is enough.
      I am getting more & more formal these days (Yoon Yong isn’t “these days”) & it is the challenge of slipping a good simile in there, of muscling out some roborant rhymes & lines. I want difficulty, as much as possible, I want to be stopped & told to look, look, look. There’s no margin for error when you are limiting yourself in some respects. But then what opens up is how pliable rules can be.
      I actually umm’d n’ argghhh’d about this simile as I like them to be snappy, cramped in a line, doing lots of work without idling out space. But I just thought it worked in the end, the rise, the beads of water, the pace, the re-entry, further splashing, giving that granulating texture, as you spotted.
      This whole episode was a borrowed anecdote from my pal Joey who does research on Jeju shamanism. He told me about this phenomena of Haenyo hearing music. Couldn’t resist.

  2. Again, Daniel, a very vivid piece, and I love the mythical aspect, with fascination generated by the sharply described onlookers who you would not normally associate with such belief.

  3. Reblogged this on O at the Edges and commented:
    Daniel Paul Marshall strikes gold:
    “(Asian carp?) leap out the pristine waters like

    a good idea which granulates into fuzz
    before you have time to write it down…”

    And the discussion on similes in the comments is like a bright torch in a dark well… Sorry, couldn’t resist.

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