Discovered Flowers of a Moment: Poems By Ŭn Ko. Four-time Nobel nominee of Literature Ko Un is a Buddhist and a naturalist. He has published more than one hundred thirty-five volumes of poetry, fiction, essays, translations, and drama, and has twice won the prestigious Korean Literature Prize. His brief Zen poems are just what I want at this stage of my learning Korean. Here is one example:
Look, that dandelion, drenched by a shower
is making the best of it, pursing it’s lips
Stand firm, little girl!
Under the Japanese occupation, Korean was banned; children were given a Japanese name. Ko Un was studying his native language in secret when he discovered the poems of Han Ha-un, Korea’s leper-poet.
When the Japanese appropriated the harvest, his father would say. “There is no rice today, but there will be rice tomorrow.”
“All through the colonial period he was a dreamer,” says Ko Un. “And when the moon was full he went out to the dusty yard and started dancing. When I saw that, I wanted to become a man who dances.” (The Monthly, “Wild Pilgrim – Meeting Ko Un”, Barry Hill, November 2012)
For me, one of the reasons I decided to learn the Korean language was hearing about the Korean language being banned during the Japanese occupation. I look forward to discovering this poet’s work.
For more advanced learners, Hanbooks offers his 12 volume Man In Bo (Ten Thousand Lives) in Korean. A classic of 20th-century Korean literature, “Maninbo” consists of 4,001 poems describing people who witnessed moments in Korea’s modern history.
View Flowers in the Moment in English from Books.Google.com