Here is how modern Korean verse, a.k.a. modern Korean sijo, works. Its first impressions are that it seems to be written in free style but a closer look may bring you an awakening of feelings, which in nature permeate your soul just as a strand of fragrance moves in with a gently breezing air. The irregular-looking wanderings of characters give you a feeling of restraint and moderation. Be noted that each verse consists of three lines. Reading it out in a mutter tells you that rhythmical flows work here. Simply put, modern Korean sijo is the embodiment of modern-era sentiments delivered in a thousand-year-old form of literature.
You may consider that only elderly people enjoy reading sijo, which is not true. This literary type does not have limitations when it comes to concepts, inspirations and topics. By elaborating sentiments delicately based on a set of certain rules, it gives audiences at any age a joy of reading. This piece of work depicts the scenes that many of us find familiar and friendly in our daily lives. Faces around the dining table, exhibiting their own loneliness and insecurities, may be seen not only as part of last night’s family time in your kitchen but also as part of tomorrow’s dinner in your neighbor’s. Words are verbally uttered but they do not deliver any meaning at all. Merely being together in the same place at the same time is not always a successful way of communicating. It is truly common in family life of our time. Every human being living in the current time is in essence in a state of solidarity and insecurity. You may be surprised by how many philosophers have preached to the public that it is just how we people live so there is nothing bizarre about anything in this world.
The problem here is that such an intrinsically natural fact is not accepted and embraced by many of us. You feel lonely but you do not want to. You are trembling in insecurity but it is the last thing that you want to do. You already know that swapping each other’s stories is a failed way of communication but you still hope to communicate. That is how we are living such an ironic life. For this reason, I may relate to one of the lines in this work of sijo saying, “The dining table being left empty after a meal feels like a lonesome island.” Obviously, we all know firsthand how such an empty table comes across.