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When One Can See Ieodo Island – A Poem from Jeju Island of Korea

Yang Geum-Hee, eminent poetess and research scholar from Jeju Island of Korea, the land of Morning Calm, shares her poem

  Geum-Hee Yang

Yang-Geun-Hee-Korea-Sindh-CourierBorn in 1967 in Jeju, Korea, Yang Geum-Hee published three books – two collections of poetry: ‘Happiness Account’, ‘Ieodo, Island of Legend and Existence’, and one collection of essay ‘Happy Companion. She was the first president of the Ieodo Literature Association, the editor in chief of the Jejuin News. She worked as a research fellow of the Society of Ieodo Research. She served as a researcher at Jeju Sea Grand Center at Jeju National University and a special professor at Jeju International University. Currently, she is editorial writer of New Jeju Ilbo, special researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences of Jeju National University, vice-president of the Jeju Regional Committee of the Korean PEN center, Executive of the Jeju Institute for the Korean Unification and Executive of the Korean Association of Ethics. She won 4 Literary Awards.

When One Can See Ieodo Island

When winds blew and waves surged,

Jeju women worried about their husbands and sons

Who had gone to sea,

Watching white surfs splashing over the rocks.


Jeju women had to see Ieodo Island by all means

When several days and months had elapsed.


Ieodo Island, Ieodo Island,

An island of plenty and comfort

That must be somewhere halfway along the Haenam route.


Jeju women believed in the island.

An island free from pain or hunger and

Full of lotus flowers,

That must be somewhere far over that ocean,

An island that would free their husbands and sons from pain.


An underwater reef 4 to 6 meters below the surface

That can be seen from tall billows

An island fishermen would see on the verge of death

An island that gave solace to Jeju women.


Those who were looking for Ieodo Island.

Across and beyond legends,

Have finally built the Ieodo Island Marine Science Base,

A lotus base that has bloomed out of Jeju women’s wish,

Standing tall and erect over the endless ocean.


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이어도가 보일 때는


바람이 불어 파도가 치면

바위에 부서지는 물결 보며

제주 아낙들은 고기잡이 떠난

남편과 아들을 걱정했다


며칠이 지나고

달이 가면

기어이 제주 여인들은

이어도를 보아야만 했다


해남 길의 반쯤 어딘가에 있을

풍요의 이어도

안락의 이어도


제주여인들은 섬을 믿었다

바다 멀리 어딘가에 있는

아픔도 배고픔도 없는 연꽃 가득한

남편과 아들을

고통에서 해방시키는 섬을


높은 파도에서만 모습 보이는

수면 아래 4,6미터 수중암초

어부들이 죽음에 임박해서나 봤을

제주 여인들에게 위안을 주던


이어도를 찿던 사람들이

전설을 넘어

마침내 이어도 해양과학기지를 세웠다

망망대해에 우뚝

제주여인의 기원으로 피어난 기지






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