One easily associates “Nongae” and “alcohol” with poet Byeon Yeong-ro. Byeon is the writer of the poem “Nongae” that goes like, “Over the waves deeper in blue than a kidney bean flower/ That heart deeper in red than a poppy.” He enjoyed alcohol so much that he was often called, “alcohol deity.” But he was more than that. He was a man full of charms. First of all, he was poet Park Mok-wol’s favorite poet. Park’s penname “Mokwol” is derived from Byeon’s penname, “Suju.” Beon was also recognized by the other two poets from the Cheongnok Group other than Park Mok-wol.
There were many writers who studied in Japan in the literary world in early modern Korea. Byeon stood out among the intellectuals who studied abroad. He was born in Seoul from a prestigious family but did not study in Japan. He taught himself English but he was fluent enough to write poems in English. Furthermore, his works were both high in national spirit and very lyrical at the same time. When a poem is high in national spirit, it hardly can be lyrical, and vice versa.
His poems were the works of a genius. The readers of this article deserve an introduction of this genius’s another work. In this poem, the poet talks about trying to escape from his dream girl but being interrupted by birds and flowers. Being born and dying between a dream and loneliness sounds like the poet himself, who were born to be a poet.