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

With best wishes to everyone for a healthy and peaceful New Year, 2024!

Written and copyright by © Therese Young Kim, Posted December 29, 2023


Cartoon ship, cut pearl chip

Majestic, and in flight

Like some slow-thrown handkerchief

Tossed from Juno’s hand

Before she took the step

from life to stone

The Moon.

Poem by Thomas Holahan, who lives in New York City and works
there under a vault of painted stars.

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Moon photos by © Therese Young Kim

To my great honor, The Journal of Baha'i Studies has published my poem, "Arirang Lament," in Volume 28, number 1-2 - Spring-Summer 2018.

Following is a quotation from the brief review given by John S. Hatcher in The Editor's Desk:

"We also are pleased to have the first contribution to the journal by Korean poet Therese Young Kim. 'Arirang Lament' is inspired by a Korean folksong, 'Arirang,' beloved in both North and the South Korea—the same song that was sung at the opening of the 2018 Winter Olympics. 'Arirang Lament' is sublimely touching and cryptic. In that sense, I find in its presentation a similar artistic effect as that of the cover art by Otto Donald Rogers.”

Thank you, Dr. John S. Hatcher, Editor, and Peter E. Murphy, Poetry Editor, for this privilege again. Therese Young Kim

Copyright © Therese Young Kim

 Arirang Lament

 Once I was born in the Land of Morning Calm
 where, they say, tigers used to smoke.

 Could I ever free myself from the laughable
 state of living where one never utters
 “I love you” even if dying of love,
 which could also mean “I hate you”?

 Laughable to say as it may, the story is sung
 in one hundred versions in the folksong,

 Arirang, arirang, ara~ri~yo~~
 Trudging away you’re o’er the hills of Arirang~
 If you so leave, leaving me forsaken, my love,
 suffer you will from the pain in your legs
 before you make the first li for your journey~

 Arirang, arirang, ara~ri~yo~~
 So goes the legend, undressing the hearts
 and minds of lovers abandoned and abandoning
 in the peaks and valleys of love ― of life.

 (Published in The Journal of Baha’i Studies 28.1-2,
 Spring-Summer 2018)

 Copyright © Therese Young Kim

A Winter Kiss

Like a woman expecting her
lover’s returning

I wait for spring in my warm
fur collar.

Walking down the frozen asphalt
in brisk short steps

I hurry home to make hot tea.

First he’ll place a kiss on my
wintering lips

Then we’ll cuddle in the dim of

In the long short night of the
lover’s returning

In the long short night of the
winter’s solstice

I wait for spring in my warm
down covering.

By Therese Young Kim
New York, NY
Copyright © 2014

Forgiving at Summer’s End

Ever since you left
I’ve been learning
how to let you go,

like we let the summer go,
fall, winter, spring go―

Then summer will return
like rivers return to the sea―

Azaleas will blossom in symphonies
of pink, the nightingale will call
from a weeping cherry
in the midnight garden again—

But don’t let go of yourself,
for we need to be there
when life returns

in dawn glow
in forsythia yellow

to surprise us again in the beauty
of forgiving at summer’s end―

By Therese Young Kim
New York, NY
Copyright © 2014

(Above poem has been published in Poetry Pacific
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© Therese Young Kim

 Photo credit: Gloria R.

Ode to the Oak

In the season under the sun
you didn’t need me to tell you

how glorious you looked in your
voluptuous green, in golden crown.

Now, in another kind of the season
that seems to have arrived all too
soon, your bird nest empty,

you stand ever tall in your
naked stance, albeit gently slanted

as if Buddha has turned into an oak.

With no bark to spare for petty regrets
over your twisted limbs, scarred tissues,
punctured wounds, yet

determined to shelter a family of
young raccoons wintering
in your nook,

you’re standing ever bold and bare
in winter’s stare.

By Therese Young Kim
New York, NY
Copyright © 2014

("Ode to the oak" and other poems)

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A Thousand Magnolias

Palms gathered onto my chest
I listen to the whisper in my heart.

When I was a baby Mama held me
onto her bosom.

When I was a child Papa carried me
on piggyback rides.

Now grown into a life of my own
in a place too far to turn back in time

I’m cradling a thousand magnolias
never sent.

By Therese Young Kim
New York, NY
Copyright © 2014

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Ode to the Oak

River of Time

Your Sentimental Stranger

Copyright © Therese Young Kim.

"Ode to the Oak" was published in Tuck Magazine with the following link
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천송이 목련화

(A Thousand Magnolias)

지금 내 두 손 가슴에 언고
어머님 젖가슴에 나 품어 안아 주시던
그때를 기억하네

나 좀더 자란 아기었을때
아빠 등에 말태워 주시곤 하던

이제 내 생활터전 잡아 놓고
다시 돌아 가기에는 너무나 멀어진
이 싯점 한 외지에서

아직도 보내드리지 못한 천송이
목련화를 부등켜 안고 서 있는 나.

(Translation into Korean by ©Therese Young Kim)

Scent of Beauty

A young golden Retriever walks in the park
trailing a long leash —

As he wanders into a smoky aroma of the
autumn foliage, upon seeing a young squirrel

tiara’d under her sensuous tail twirling madly
up a honey locust in her flight from the

rustling shadow of the Retriever,

he draws himself into a hushed halt, ears
pricking, golden tail hanging aloft, and gazes

upon the little squirrel with his smoky eyes,

as if he just ran into the loveliest creature in
his whole-wide world.

Therese Young Kim
New York, NY
Copyright © 2014

Time in Monsoon Rain
(River of Time)

Time rushes by like a river rushing
down in monsoon rain.

In time we’ve come, round about
one-half the globe, mending

torn-away buttons and worn-out hems
of once our fashion-inspired robes.

Treading the path untrodden in the past,
in love falling, out of love tumbling, 

healing the wounds and remembering
to forget, here we’ve come with stories to tell,

but time rushes on like a river rushing
down in monsoon rain.

Therese Young Kim
New York, NY
Copyright © 2014

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Katrina’s Child

You came with your hair down, pounding down,
tearing down the Gulf of Mexico in your savage
ecstasy, Katrina.

When morning came without dawn, some hung
onto the bridge like scarecrows, some onto higher
ground, into the shops of the French Quarter.

Zooming onto the TV screen is a little boy tiptoeing
to a scanty grocery shelf who plucks down two
bottles of Coca-Cola and a loaf of Wonder Bread.

Dimples dipping to a smile he plops his catch
into a pale plastic bag and pirouettes to the broken
door, when a reporter in his crisp white shirt

turns his black microphone in his way and asks,
albeit gently, if he knows he’s looting.

The question unfamiliar to his ear, the boy peers
into his plastic bag looking for an answer,
into sea-blue eyes of the reporter, only to freeze
before a tall black eye of the camera peering …

The answer dawns onto his delicate brow, tear rising
into plum-dark eyes like Lake Ponchartrain breaking
into levees, tearing down the innocence of your child,

Therese Young Kim
New York, NY
Copyright © 2015

© Therese Young Kim

Photo Credit: Nadine Matthews

A title poem for the website,
written and read by Therese Young Kim.
Venue: The Poetry Project c/o St. Mark's Church open reading,
New York City, 10/06/2014
Audio provided by Laura Henriksen
Images from Therese Young Kim's photo album.
Copyrigt © Therese Young Kim

Black Labrador

With your heart d’or
and eyes of a humble philosopher
you slow-dance around in your dark
silken silhouette.

Content with silent discourse
with your keeper and a few biscuits
from him, you turn doughy-nimble
with fleeting caress from strangers.

Young like a teenager, you wag your tail
with full abandon when a white poodle
struts by stirring up your heart d’or
Black Labrador.

By Therese Young Kim
New York, NY
Copyright © 2016

All the photos that don't contain the images of the poet were taken by the poet.

Copyright © Therese Young Kim

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Thank you.