Suppose They Held A War … And Nobody Came …

Korea’s little peninsula home,
at last free of invaders, found
its northernmost regional dictator
propelled southwards by its giant
northern ice bound neighbour
to conquer the whole  peninsular.
Now Koreans fought Koreans.
From across the ocean another
giant nation aided the south
on jagged battle fronts snaking
to and fro, up and down this
tiny gangway to the east.

After a truce three years
later the south waited but
the north never returned
either to fire shots
or sign a treaty.

…a truce still in limbo.

Sometimes the north fires
deadly fusillades then
retreats like children
ringing a doorbell …
running away.

With military bases
supported by friendly
nations the south
continues its daily life …

They all continue to wait ….

The war between North and South Korea lasted from 1950 to 1953.
After a truce in 1953 the North never returned to the battle front.
It is generally believed that they and their backers, the communists in
Russia and China had run out of the necessary overall resources to
continue fighting the South which was backed by the USA and its allies.

Suppose They Held A War … And Nobody Came …


After forty years of the
militarist regime’s occupation
the foreign soldiers banished
the invaders back to their
island home on 15 August 1945
releasing Korea from slavery.

This slave population had been
used in the enslavement of the
densely populated eastern
coast of the continent
across the narrow sea.

Over seven decades
three racially akin
countries toiled to
recover from years
of occupying and

Young Koreans commemorate
that August day then go on
package holiday tours
to the island home of their
previous warring invader.

Each Wednesday lunchtime
former girl sex slaves now
in the winter of their lives
circle in front of a lone
Seoul embassy reminding
their erstwhile conquerors
of their brutal enforcement
into premature tortured


A Cup Of Tea

On Bob’s priceless Saturdays
every minute must be used.

Today rush through the shower
dress in weekend clothes
devour eggs and toast.
Time for a cup of tea
before collecting cousin Jim
from the airport to stay the week.
Check the day’s list of jobs
while the teabag in the mug
brews a rich strong hue.

**** !! We need the wood
for Uncle Tom this morning
to put skirting around
the new laundry !
Bob leaves his tea to brew
drives found to the timber yard
puts the timber in his station wagon.

Fred at the checkout
watches through the showroom window,
waits for him to come and pay.
But Bob sits in his car
again – does not move.
Fred runs out,
stares at Bob,
calls an ambulance.

Bob’s wife and son
white faced, stunned,
come with police
to identify, answer questions.
Bob is taken away.

Back in their silent home
in the kitchen they see
the tea bag –
sitting in its mug.
The tea is now
a rich strong hue.

A Cup Of Tea

Korean Kindergarten Bus

Excited three and four year
olds wait with mothers or
grannies or aunties at gateways
to apartment complexes and
apartment block front doors as
Mr Lee drives the bus around
local suburbs to pick them up
for their classes at the English
kindergarten. Mrs Park and
the other children greet each
child as they step on the bus.

They are excited to have American
names for kindergarten, names
like Jodie, Henry, Jessica, Gavin
which their parents chose from
principal Mrs Kim’s book of
American names – so grown up !

Their uniform Academy school bags
hold their jackets, their spoons
and chopsticks for hot school lunch,
and little trays with compartments
for soup, rice, pickles, fish or meat.

Mr Lee stops to pick up
Mrs Jenny walking from the bank
to school – they greet her too.

School at last and they all
scramble off the bus to meet
Mr David and Mrs Carol
at the front door.

Korean Kindergarten Bus

Korean Kindergarten Lunch

We line up with our lunch trays
for Mrs Park and Mrs Kim
to serve our dinner.
The youngest go first and
sometimes we have to wait
because Henry plays instead of
washing his hands.

Ooooh !  Look at Henry’s lunch !!
Octopus !   It doesn’t taste of anything !
And it takes so long to chew.
I hope Mr David tips mine in the bin
back in our classroom when we are eating.
Last week he tipped my yucky
seaweed rice globs in the bin.
Yay !  Only seaweed in the soup today.

Crumbed cutlets cut up in strips !
with honey mustard sauce !
Even Mrs Jenny eats that.
Mrs Park gives her lots.
And yellow pickled radish !
Mmmm !

Mrs Jenny is still learning how
to use metal chopticks.
On her first day here
Mrs Kim turned her chopsticks
round the right way
in her hand.
Foreigners are very strange.

Korean Kindergarten Lunch

Watering The Dandelion

She was watering the dandelion
as I rounded the house
returning late from work.
She said its lush green magnificence
should be allowed to thrive.
Missing the tending of
her own loved garden
she watered mine
twelve thousand miles away.

On this last visit to her birthplace
her marauding white cells
were defeating the red,
defying her chemical breakfasts.

Her next journey would be different
after a final departure
from beloved husband and children,
already she missed them deeply.
They would follow their own roads.
Her road with its merciless twists
was Peter Pan’s big adventure.

As she faded away
after long isolation
in a stark white hospital bed,
primrose walls palely recalled
that dandelion brilliance
lushly green and golden in the sun.

Watering The Dandelion

Cram Schools

After 8am to 2pm classes
Korean elementary school
children scurry in ten seater
vans to city cram school
classes in maths, science,
violin playing, English,
Tae Kwon do, and other
subjects sought by eager
Korean mothers whose
duty is to choose correctly
for their children’s education.

Three seventy minute classes
roll on to 6.30 pm as vans
continuously drop off
and collect the young students.
After 7 pm dinner and
homework under mothers’
watchful eyes the children
sleep until breakfast next
day and school again at 8 am.

In high school the days
lengthen to 10 pm then
on to team sports on
Saturdays. Parents and
grandparents retain Sundays.

Many high school students
unwind at computer games
late into the night.

Cram Schools

Foreign Teachers

Korean government in 1995
decided to move forward
with English fluency as
they rebuilt their country
to a grand economy
after forty years’ slavery
then a border war.

Korea would learn to increase
imports and exports, develop
and produce goods sought
by countries who would pay
well. She would keep pace
with the English speaking
country which helped her
stand against her enemy
siblings at the north end
of her peninsula.

Korean government in 1995
set up recruitment of
native English speakers
to teach in state schools
and cram schools. No teacher
training, simply follow the
workbooks Korean style:
east and western cultures
met in a grand slam !

These foreign teachers expect
eight hour workdays, take
sick leave and summer holidays,
argue with senior staff !

Why would they do that ?

Foreign teachers are
very hard to understand.

Foreign Teachers

Why not me?!

They need people like you !

Rich Proctor

In the wake of the bald eagle being unconscionably shot and killed in my area (see yesterday’s post), I feel the call to become an advocate on their behalf.

If you read this blog on any regularity, you know that I have a deep love and passion for these beautiful birds.

With that in mind, moving forward, I have decided to devote a major portion of my photographic efforts to showcasing the astonishing beauty of these magnificent animals, even more than I already have.

It will require a significant upgrade in ability and gear, but damn, somebody has to do it!

Perhaps, at least in my hopeful (and perhaps naive) mind, the awe-inspiring sight of such wonderful beauty will soften the heart of someone who might otherwise do them harm.

If I can save one bald eagle from a similar dark fate, it will be a success.

baldy-flies-away Baldy Flies…

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Why not me?!