Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I miss my mother

I am planning to go to Korea in May. During this trip, I am going to visit my home town, a little village where I lived till I was 10 years old. My mother was a stranger to this little village. She was a refugee from North Korea during the 1950 Korean war, she fell in love with my father who was the first son of a rich land owner. His family rejected her with many different reasons; one of reasons was that she was a "modern woman" which means that she was exposed to the western thought. They called a woman a modern woman, if she was educated, wear a dress or skirts instead wearing a hanbok, wear a short-cut hair style, and she chose her own mate.


Mother has been gone for 5 years now, and I miss her more and more as the time goes by.



Modern Woman

You taught me how to walk

Like a lady

On our monthly outing to the village market

I would hop ahead of you

Hurrying to get to the bustling market place where

Vendors called my attention with their exotic wares

Pulling on your skirt

I was impatient with your measured walk


Instead, you stopped in the middle of the road

You told me to watch those scurrying people

Pointing how they walked

"Like a grasshopper, when a woman sways her hips and shoulder"

"Like a duck, when a women walks with her feet point outward"

Then you showed me the proper way to walk

"Step one foot over another as though you are walking on a rope in the air"


I watched you closely for the first time

On that dusty, gravel road

Lined with tall poplar trees

Wondering where the road leads

You were different even to my seven year-old eyes

You had schoolgirl hair-cut when others had rolled their hair up

You had a western dress when others had a hanbok

The villagers called you "modern woman"

With reverence and envy


Since that day, I have practiced walking straight

One foot over another like a tightrope walker

When I am afraid of falling

I think of that "modern woman" who showed me

A road out of that little village

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