Scriptures such as the Bible and the Diamond Sutra have truths embedded in themselves. They are a result of truth seekers’ long years’ efforts to discover truths. That is why we open them to find answers. As one of the most avid readers of poetry books, I happen to know that they are another container of lessons and truths that scriptures teach us. Poetry is an essence of the soul and heart of its creator. Just as it is natural that birds come to live in a nest, there is little doubt that truths sit on earnest writings.
Asked what most resembles a scriptural piece, my answer is, a poem that gives us an enlightenment that resonates throughout the soul; that awakens us so that we can correct our mindsets and straighten up; and that weathers disgrace and anguish and rises stronger. Yoon Joong-ho’s “At Yeogmok” is the right answer.
Yeongmok is a name of a port in the coastal area of Anmyeondo Island, Taean County, South Chungcheong Province. Whereas the East Sea presents us with a beautiful sunrise, the West Sea is dyed with a saddening sunset. The poet describes the sceneries of sunset that unfolds at the southernmost tip of the island in the West Sea that does not allow not any further step to be taken southward. Sunset is used as a metaphor for the ending years of life. Once you notice that your life has already started waning just as the sun goes down, you may find yourself zoned out while looking at the setting sun. Your thoughts come to a conclusion, “I wish to live my remaining days with a blaze of vigor.”
A man at the age of sunset has just made a wish while witnessing a moment of sunset, saying, “Although I have not garnered fame and reputation, I hope to be treated as a complete human being and live humanly.” A desperate longing of sunset is equally matched with a hopeful voice of sunrise. It is not that there is only a rising sun out there but that a setting sun that is equally incredible and praiseworthy exists as well.