She walks toward the end
An inch closer, eyes closed;
Then one leap into the air
She vanishes into the water
Where no fate can stalk her
Care about the world no more
But the king and the lotus flower
To forget the memories forever.
*Author’s Note: This poem is based on the Korean folktale of Shimchung about a girl who throws herself into the sea for 300 sacks of rice to be offered to Buddha so that her blind father can regain his eyesight. The Sea Emperor sends her back to land in lotus flower, and her father can see. Contrary to the popular perception of the story as extolling the virtue of the daughter’s filial piety toward her blind old father, I see it more as the girl’s good-heartedness that touches upon the universal heart.