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A Love Poem for the Moon Celebrating the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024

Moonlight Yoga

The October full moon lingers in her pale shadow
waiting for the sun to plunge into the sunset river

before she enters the night.

Standing under an old oak, I place my hand
onto its bark thickened and grooved

like a rice farmer’s palm.

I stretch my arms over the head and slowly arch back
like a crescent moon and inhale the faint scent
of the old tree.

When I was innocent like a plum I used to play
hide-and-seek under a harvest moon, hiding

behind a stone Buddha with missing ears.

I circle the oak, like the moon around the earth
not once turning her face to reveal

the dark side of her.

The full moon beams down onto my head
as if trying to levitate me.

Aware of her magic that can lift the ocean,
I dig down my heels into the earth
where I belong.

Drinking the forgiving air of the moon-drunken park
I amble down to the city light dancing
in the full moon night.

Written and posted © Therese Young Kim
The Moon in the Park
Photo Credit: The Moon in the Park by © Therese Young Kim

Koreann Thatch-roofed House in the Country, Artist Unidentified From TYKCollection

Wind-bell: 청계사 대웅전의 풍경 “한국 전통건축장식의 비밀” 허균, 대원사 Buddhist Temple Chunggyesa, Daewoongjun Hall “The Secret of Traditional Korean ConstructionOrnaments” by Huh Kyun, Daewonsa, Korea

Sunangdang: A Village Shrine and a Tutelary Wooden Deity

NOVEL

Nayoung’s Journey

(The story of a young Korean woman in her courageous journey to reclaim her lost American dream.)


Partly based on true events, "Nayoung's Journey" is the story of a courageous young Korean woman embarking on her fateful journey to reclaim her lost American dream. From the trail of the protagonist Nayoung's plight, the story shines a glaring light on the beauty as well as the tragic side of the American dream revealed in a way never been written before. "Nayoung's Journey" speaks to and for the brave women of all cultures who are in search of their places in the free world while enduring discrimination, injustice, and prejudice they face with daunting courage, resilience, and hope.

Born in S. Korea, Therese Young Kim studied English and literature at Kyung Hee University in Seoul and worked at the Lufthansa ticketing office before coming to America. She worked as a professional interpreter for over 25 years in New York while pursuing the craft of poetry and prose with some publications in literary journals in Korean as well as in English, now with a completed novel, "Nayoung's Journey", literary fiction.

Thatch-roofed House

Harvest Moon at Dawn

Crock Jars for Kimchi and Sauces

Tea and Pottery House

Flowers and Stone Figures

Latticed window and the kitchen door

Cooking Cauldrons on the Sunken Furnace

Shadow of Eaves over Latticed Window

Tiled Roof and the Stone Wall

Stone Lamps in the Garden

Silk Pouch and White Crochet

Village Shrine

Village Guardian Spirits
Stone Figures
From East to West
Femme en Chapeau by Sellier
Office Windows on Park Avenue
Wooden Plank Water Tower

Snow in Manhattan

Central Park Winter

The Moon over New York City

White Horse of Central Park

Photo Credit: Conrad Monroe


Photo Credit: Therese Young Kim

POSTIMPRESSIONISM THAT HAS COLORED MY WRITING (An Essay on my Writing Life)

Impressionism in painting is known to have been born in France, between 1867 and 1886, which has inspired the world of art with the new form of expression and technique, including writers and musicians around the world. I have long been beholden to many immortal postimpressionist painters and writers who keep me awed and inspired, although my knowledge of their genius is no deeper than shallow water.

     I am a peripatetic writer who owes her literary style and voice (if any) to postimpressionism, to the sublime colors of nature, as well as to the legend behind those immortal paintings. I write poems and stories that are strung together from the stories taken in the fleeting moments of my humble life in New York City, that are heavily embellished.

     I take my laptop for my walk like a pet, which holds the world of my poetry, prose, and stories, as well as a novel,“Nayoung’s Journey,”that have been written for many years, some still being edited whenever I can sit in a café at the end of my walks.

     Many were written while I roamed around the city, listening to the rhythm and cadence of sidewalks, to the melodious utterances of foreign languages brushing by my ear. I think my experience as an interpreter for over 25 years has turned me into a natural eavesdropper because of my practice of listening to the words spoken in one language before rendering them into another without missing the beat.

     Ironically, the world is now full of eavesdroppers, private eyes, and voyeurs in this internet age. Yes, our journey through these fleeting moments of blinding speed could be deemed our impressionistic lifestyle, isn’t it? At the same token, albeit with a different bent, I am happy to identify myself as an impressionistic writer, which is completely a happenstance.

     It all happened when I received a little box of books from an American lady who used to teach us English conversation some 60 years ago when I was about to enter a college. Although she soon left for America, to my utter surprise, delight, and gratitude she sent me a box of books, such as “Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky, a book by Kipling, a book of Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and “Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorn. I did send her a letter thanking her profusely, only to lose contact soon after.

     Fast forward, when I came to America I searched for her, unsuccessfully, so here I express my infinite gratitude again to Mrs. Virginia Mann—who may have long departed this earth—for her opening my soul to the beauty and truth of the world of literature.

     They say impressionism in literature captures fleeting moments and sensory experiences, and impressionist artists would paint en plain air for many hours at a time to capture the shifting light in a fleeting moment.

     So do I walk and paint with my words in plain air, air the phrases and sentences in the passing breeze, dry them in the toasty sun, and set them to the rhythm of my solitary footsteps, before coloring them in pewter-gray for my tormented soul or in dawn-pink for hopes and ecstasy. All that in the stream of my subconscious, never forced or premeasured, only free like a bird out of her cage, like a stallion running on the empty beach.

     I guess that’s how some of my writings have been created, written, and completed, like “Nayoung’s Journey,” a novel, women’s literary fiction, for which I am in search of literary agent. “Nayoung’s Journey” is partly based on true events, about a courageous young Korean woman who embarks on her fateful journey of love and trauma, from Seoul to Hamburg, to New York in 1960’s, to reclaim her lost American dream. Nayoung's Journey is a provocative little novel with the timeless beauty and mystery of a windflower, anemone.

     In the picture posted above are a few books of impressionism and postimpressionism, together with my favorite authors picked from my scanty library, arranged on the white shawl crocheted by my mother in her waning days—the relic of her love.

Written and Copyright by © Therese Young Kim February 2024

For titles and publishers of the books in the above picture, please, go to:

External link opens in new tab or windowhttp://www.lnkedin.com/in/therese-young-kim-43a906114

Glossary of Korean words into English from

NAYOUNG'S JOURNEY

   Stone Lamps - Please, refer to the first page, Prelude, in this website, for images and the article about the stone lamps.

  “Kisaeng” is a word transliterated from Korean, meaning “entertaining girl or girls,” who were professionally trained to sing, dance or play ancient instruments in old world Korea. Some wrote classic Korean poetry called, “Sijo,” and recited them to the haunting melody of kayagum sound. Despite their high artistry and elegance, however, they belonged to a lower-class  in social strata, who served as entertainers in banquets and ceremonial dinners for aristocrats and high officials. Hwang, Jini (1506-1560) is known to be one of the most legendary Kisaeng girls and an acclaimed poet of her time. She was featured in the Korean movie titled by her name.


   In the changing ethos of time, however, especially following the tragic Korean War and her rapid growth as an industrialized nation, the classic sight of Kisaeng girls in Korea has long been eclipsed by modern social mores of the country. Nonetheless, it may not be a mere coincidence if one finds the footprints of their beauty and haunting legacy still alive in various forms of the Korean traditional performing arts today.

   Following are the three images of Kisaeng girls in classic Hanbok (traditional Korean dress), courtesy of Hyunam Publishing Co. in Seoul, Korea. In the far left stands a Kisaeng girl in her outdoor mode in her hat (called Jonmo), made of bamboo and oiled paper that were worn by lower class women. In the middle in all white is a dancing girl, and in the right she is wearing her formal Hanbok dress.

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The above images were selected from the book:
“Korean Costumes during the Chosun Dynasty”
Written and Illustrated by Kwon,Oh-Chang
Hyunam Publishing Co.

Written and compiled by © Therese Young Kim The Author of © Nayoung's Journey All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit: Nadine Matthews


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