I share the following untitled poem from the valuable vaults of CONSEQUENCE MAGAZINE that publishes hard hitting works focused on the culture of war and its deep seated implications on individuality in various forms.
As is my belief, sharing the works of others opens doorways not only to the hard work, insight, thought process and creative empathy associated with the process of writing, it signals a flowering of greater global dialogue.
The following poem by Esther Ra addresses lines of division among North and South Korea and how they have defined the fragmented burdens of multiple generations. The untitled work is poignant and full of gripping images that are particular to her understanding of the region and yet sublimely universal. It’s like an epiphany since just last night I saw an MTV advertisement featuring a young North Korean boy narrating his travails subsumed with his family’s where getting the same haircut and subscribing to state approved professions was the norm in his nation. While he gets a haircut in Seoul , the message of repression is juxtaposed with a plea for bringing about a change in our own country by casting votes since Indian polls are underway as I speak. I voted myself yesterday.
So within a few hours’ time, the afflicted spirit of another nation reached me in two different ways. However, the message for seeking self expression remains the same.Read this poem and reflect on how it touches a nerve through the length and breadth of the human experience as of 2019 and beyond.
Also the poem, author bio are all from the Consequence Magazine web page.
CONSEQUENCE MAGAZINE is an international literary magazine focusing on the culture of war
December 4, 2017 by Esther Ra
“Fingers of barbed wire
Dragged across our country
And North Korea’s mouth
—— + —— + —— + —— + ——
In the blank that came after,
I groped at anything
Songs whispered through
The underground churches,
Cleaving like glass
From the lips of refugees.
I washed my coins together
And flung them into the darkness,
A wishing well
Where bodies lay buried
At the bottom.
In my ignorance
I crushed hope between my teeth,
A bitter and blistering lollipop
That grew smaller over the years.
In North Korea, government-hired writers
In praise of Dear Leader,
And people are stoned
With bandaged mouths.
No prayers released by the rubble-filled dead,
No martyr to stand for the living.
In the south, our teeth clench around coins
Like corpses, too busy being chased by life
To remember death.
I am their tongue, faulty and soft,
Trembling when I taste
Where the wind blows.
Every night, as sleep falls over our country,
Our radios hum awake.
Are you still there?
Broadcasts wash over the border in waves.
Barbed wire cannot keep out our tears.
To our dearly beloveds, we say,
We have not forgotten you.
Tonight we will read aloud
Matthew, Chapter One…
And pages tremble open
As pens scratch down
Each shining verse,
To bring a forbidden Bible
O speech untamed,
Be careful what you wish for.
A single word can river
A glacier to water,
A tongue spear generations
About Esther Ra
Esther Ra alternates between living in Seoul, South Korea, and Walla Walla, Washington. She is the editor-in-chief of the Freedom Songs Magazine, a literary magazine exploring themes of racial justice. Her work has been published in blue moon, and her upcoming novel, Tadpole Pond, has garnered a body of readers on the publishing platform Radish Fiction. She is deeply interested in grappling with the quiet beauty in the ordinary, the price of courage, and the space of ambiguity between different cultures.
CONSEQUENCE is an international literary magazine published annually, focusing on the culture and consequences of war.