Humble at the heart of this landscape,
this dreamscape I’m training through,
I’m taken by its blossoming breast;
forests firing 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’m trying to comprehend.
This one’s a little more digestible, you tell me
but I know you’re teasing as you toss with your own truth.
Beyond our feasting over meals
bigger than bellies but smaller than budgets,
skyscrapers shoot up over mammoth mountains,
a competition that man has no time to master
while in homes, humble, calmness is harboured
to the shore instead of clutter to sink beneath.
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 still somehow shines.
Museums have wings for Japan and China
and those Mongols who molested these mountains
still standing, still growing, still calling us to come
and climb and see the world from another side.
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 by Damien B. Donnelly. This week’s theme was South Korea which I travelled through last year when everything was being questioned; my relationship, my former partner’s dysphoria, our own identity, my strength, literally and emotionally, my breath, the first introduction to a panic attack on top of a volcano at 5am while waiting for a sunrise that was not as exceptional as the attack which I thought at the time was a heart attack (yes, I can occasionally be dramatic; you should have seen me in the hospital entrance area when they were trying to tell me it might be very expensive to come in and be treated as a foreigner while I was telling them it might be worse if I died in the middle of their corridor) . All in all, the country, its peace and people and proximity to me at the time, left it a beautiful mark. It was the toughest time and the most precious. Buddhas, blossom, beauty and an understand of breath.