Friday, June 27, 2008


The collapse of the concrete structure, the most conspicuous part of the nuclear complex at Yongbyon, 60 miles north of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, bore witness to the incremental progress that has been made in American-led multilateral efforts to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs. —Choe Sang-hun, "North Korea Destroys Tower at Nuclear Plant," NYT

* * *

When you leave,
weary of me,
without a word I shall gently let you go.

From Mt. Yak
in Yongbyon
I shall gather armfuls of azaleas
and scatter them on your way.

Step by step
on the flowers placed before you
tread lightly, softly as you go.

When you leave
weary of me,
though I die, I'll not let one tear fall.

—Kim Sowol (1902–1935), "Azaleas"

* * *

Parkus Grammaticus Sr. says: "Azeleas" is THE most loved poem for Koreans. No Koreans can look at azeleas without thinking of Kim Sowol, that young, beautiful and tragic poet. Yongbyon's Yaksan has been a mythical place of love and stories of unfulfilled love. We were shocked and dismayed discovering suddenly that Yongbyon became the site of nuclear plants and potential massive destruction of civilization. Now the plant dismantled, we hope azeleas can bloom once again—so that some day we can recite Kim Sowol and weep softly (without tears) with him, surrounded by Yongbyon's azeleas. Some day."



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