Wartime

Militarist conquerors
subjugated Korea’s peninsular
enslaving its people for
service on eastern coasts
they invaded across the
narrow sea. Some were
herded on to their conquerors’
ships surging southwards
invading other island nations.

Enemies captured some of
the conquerors’ ships, imprisoned
their sailors in far away
southern lands. Would be
escaper uniformed sailors
remained locked up. But
thin gaunt slaves in coolie
rags now had adequate food,
shelter, clothing. Work parties
with a single guard daily
laboured on farms short
of wartime manpower.

At war’s end they were
released
repatriated
to a liberated homeland
wrecked by forty years’
militarist occupation.

Previously posted November 2016.

Wartime

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 peninsula.

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 peace 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 necessary arms, food, and overall resources
to continue fighting the South which still is backed by the USA and its allies.

Previously posted October 2016.

Suppose They Held A War … And Nobody Came …

Independence

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
occupation.

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
adulthood.

Previously posted October 2016

Independence

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 to the bus.

They are excited to have American
names for the 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, pickle, 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.

Previously posted October 2016

Korean Kindergarten Bus

Korean Kindergarten Lunch

We line up with our lunch trays
for Mrs Park and Mrs Kim
to serve our lunch.
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 take 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 in strips !
With honey mustard sauce !
Even Mrs Jenny eats that.
Mrs Park gives her lots.
And yellow pickles radish !! Mmmm !!

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

Previously posted October 2016

Korean Kindergarten Lunch

Cram Schools

After 8 am to 2 pm 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.

Previously posted October 2016.

Cram Schools

A Short Analysis of Sir Walter Raleigh’s ‘To A Lady With An Unruly And Ill-Mannered Dog Who Bit Several Persons Of Importance’

An interesting comment on the development of the study of English literature at university level.

Interesting Literature

‘To A Lady With An Unruly And Ill-Mannered Dog Who Bit Several Persons Of Importance’ is a long title for what is not that long a poem. Its author was Sir Walter Raleigh – not the Elizabethan and Jacobean explorer and poet (who didn’t introduce tobacco and potatoes to Europe), but the Professor of English Literature named Sir Walter Raleigh (1861-1922). Raleigh was, notably, the first person to hold a Chair in English Literature at the University of Oxford. Raleigh was also a successful poet, as ‘To A Lady With An Unruly And Ill-Mannered Dog Who Bit Several Persons Of Importance’ demonstrates.

Your dog is not a dog of grace;
He does not wag the tail or beg;
He bit Miss Dickson in the face;
He bit a Bailie in the leg.

What tragic choices such a dog
Presents to visitor or friend!
Outside there is the Glasgow fog;
Within…

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A Short Analysis of Sir Walter Raleigh’s ‘To A Lady With An Unruly And Ill-Mannered Dog Who Bit Several Persons Of Importance’