THE CARETAKER

 

High on a hilltop, you climb above your age
and whisper the wisdom of your ancestors like its wealth
(hush, I say, to hear the humble)
worn words as woven into the earth as the roots
of the trembling trees standing to support those above it.

High on a hilltop, a former teacher caresses history
like a caretaker tends the glories growing in a garden he was given,
tales time would have tossed but his time mind still meditates over
while I wonder where I was a year, a month, an hour ago?

High on a hilltop, we lean into the comfort
to accept all that we have found indecipherable.

We take the right side at the entrance, as instructed,
and bow, thrice, and the empty space recalls the place of the emperor
who once took the central path while the guards, armed
with faith in the form of a dragon, harmony in the form of their music
and strength in the size of their sword, wards off the demons
and welcomes in the inner light.

There is light here, a gentle light, a subtle light to caress the skin,
to sink within as we mount and meditate on how we got here,
to this hill, to this land, to this life, to this breath.

High on the hilltop, we breathe in the simplicity of common incense
and sway as the chimes ring out to remind us
we are not one, alone, but one single part of the whole

and we bow again, thrice, and follow the stream that knows more
about its route than we will ever to understand about our own.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly. This is a reworking of an older poem for a week recalling travels in South Korea in 2018. 

SCENES FROM SOUTH KOREA, BUSAN, PART 4

And so we move along the coast, Busan, the beach version of Seoul…

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Of course we arrived to a rather wet beach and not just from the tide

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A major city in the making 

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And everywhere there are mountains, even in the city

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Nightlife taking shape on Saturday, the only night the kids have off from study

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The harbour bridge

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The bridge from our wet hotel rooftop

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The port and the fish market (with the winged roof)

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Gamcheon Culture Village, a city slum getting a facelift

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Gamcheon Culture Village and La Petit Prince dropped in to have a look

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Gamcheon Culture Village

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Traditional Hanbok in Gamcheon Culture Village

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Gamcheon Culture Village where even the bikes are colourful 

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Gamcheon Culture Village

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Gamcheon Culture Village and the steps to the stars

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Gamcheon Culture Village and daily life captured 

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The pound in Gamcheon Culture Village

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Gamcheon Culture Village

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Dolls house in Gamcheon Culture Village

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Gamcheon Culture Village

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Jagalchi Fish Market, shame you can’t smell it

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Jagalchi Fish Market

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Jagalchi Fish Market and giant crabs

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Jagalchi Fish Market

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Jagalchi Fish Market

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Jagalchi Fish Market

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Jagalchi Fish Market

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Jagalchi Fish Market

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A little Louis at Shinsegae Centrum Shopping mall

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The city growing up

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Green onion pancakes, mackerel & somewhere, out of frame, there is, of course, kimchi

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Bus to Beomeosa Temple and this man lovely became our tour guide

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Beomeosa Temple entrance, there are three gates in total

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Beomeosa Temple

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Beomeosa Temple

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Beomeosa Temple

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Beomeosa Temple

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Beomeosa Temple

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Beomeosa Temple Tiles

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Beomeosa Temple

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Beomeosa Temple

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Beomeosa Temple

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Beomeosa Temple and one of the Buddhas 

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Beomeosa Temple

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Beomeosa Temple

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Beomeosa Temple guard

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Beomeosa Temple and the boys (men)

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Stream in the Beomeosa Temple grounds.

Next stop Jeju Island for the last port of call… 

All photographs by Damien B. Donnelly