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Verses that impact us for life

Posted August. 15, 2022 07:26,   

Updated August. 15, 2022 07:26


As we see a face blossoming as a yellow flower, faded like varnished linoleum, although this is something that can never be spoken aloud. If there is one last healthy body anywhere, let us gladly give that as we go to someone who has to squeeze into that in order to live. I too long to live to the end a life

that gladly sacrifices any part of its flesh as it goes.

- an excerpt from ‘Hollyhock You’ written by Do Jong-hwan

I came across this poem when I was in my adolescent years. The book of poems was a bestseller back then. The poem, which describes the pure love of a husband missing his late wife, won the hearts of people. However, the poem is not confined to the love of the husband. People say that art is interpreted in the eyes of the beholder, but the poet's perspective stretches beyond that.

Poet Do does not dwell only on his sadness alone. He says that people should agonize over the days we no longer can share ourselves and implores the wife to leave behind her body. To me, this felt like altruism of a religious practitioner. The verse deeply impacted me, particularly as an adolescent pondering about how to live life. I decided that I should live a life to share with others.

Do has published several more poems since then, more than 30 years has passed. If asked whether I had lived my life this way, I should confess that I haven't. The past years reflect my self-centered and random ways of living. Still, what motivated to donate some of my money to those in need was this poem. It was this poem that stopped my hesitation when someone reached out to me for help. Perhaps the poet has changed over the years, as I have. However, some verses and quotes stay with us forever- the tension and our memories keep us intact.