After receiving the book of poetry, I read it with my daughter. “What do you think it is about?,” I asked my daughter and the 15-year-old answered, “I think it is about parting with someone the poet loves.” She stood up as she answered and I sat there thinking about her answer. She was correct and a bit wrong at the same time when she said, “parting.” Because the poet was on his way to meet the person he loves even though he had already parted with that person.
Lee O-young, the writer of the poem, was like a tall and solid mountain. Even in front of so many audiences, his eyes shined and his speech was fluent. He was amazing and strong. If the field of intellect is the battlefield of ideology, he was undoubtedly a general. In the area of poem, however, he turns completely different. Behind the intellect lies a soft inner side. The man as we know him, who is as intelligent as Hegel and Kant, disappears, and a man, who is hurt, broken, and regretful, raises his head. The genuineness of such a poem cannot be questioned.
Lee O-yong passed away this spring and his daughter passed away just 10 years ago. The 10 years of longing was reflected in the poet’s last poem in his last book of poems. The father would not have been able to see or hear anything even if he went to Huntington Beach, where his daughter lived. So now he went to find his own daughter. “Now I am following the road you walked along” is the preface to his last collection of poems. Mr. Lee, rest in peace.