Humble at the heart of this landscape, this dreamscape
I’m training through, I’m taken by its blossoming breast;
forests firing up like volcanos that have shun their rest,
luscious leaves of lava sweep through cities, for man
has no control over the mountain just as nature has no
defence against the molten flame, as fiery as the kimchi
I am trying to come to terms with. This one’s a little more
digestible, you tell me but I know you’re teasing. Beyond
our feasting over meals bigger than our bellies but smaller
than our budgets, skyscrapers attempt to shoot up over
mammoth mountains, a competition man has really no time
to master while in homes, humble, calmness is harboured
to counteract consumer clutter. Humble resides in the heart
of this Republic once ravaged, often raped, now a melting
pot of mystery; many foreign feet of soldiers stamping
have dug their shadow into all that now shines. Museums
have wings for Japan and China and for those Mongols
who molested these mountains still standing, still growing,
still calling us to come and climb and see the world from
another point of view. Tourists now willingly trudge through
tunnels dug out by that luscious lava, we take turns taking
pictures and laugh as its resemblance to a giant turd. We
come to the call of the mountains, all sweaty chested
and dosed in awe, my heart is held at this height, it trembles
beneath this fragile flesh and I hold on tighter to each grip
of grandeur and wonder how long my footprints will be
cemented in this soil. From here, high above the crow’s nest,
where Buddha rests with all that remains, where fortresses
have been forged and since forgotten, these cities sweep
away from who they were and show themselves as who
they are becoming. We are not who we were but what we
have made out of what has been, in dusted days, done to us.

All words and photographs of South Korea by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:


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