Posts Tagged ‘Korean folktale’

It all falls down eventually.
The ivory tower, the concrete tower,
the mountains, the mesas, the happily ever,
the everything we know. Even heaven
begins to sag eventually. First one corner.

One corner is enough to alarm the king.
It all falls down eventually.
“Heaven is sagging!” he shouts
to his servants. “We must keep it
from toppling!” And so he commands,
as kings often do, his workers to make it right.
“Build me a pillar of copper, red,
and place it under the sagging floor
so heaven doesn’t fall.”

My dear, I have been the king.
I have tried to construct
a pillar, a grand one, to hold up any depressions
that slant our love. When we list, I build
the pillar higher. For a time it feels right.

But the earth beneath the red copper pillar
was only made of earth. And it only worked
for a while before the ground gave way
beneath the weight of paradise.
It all falls down eventually.
The king wandered the streets of heaven
in search of the strongest man.
Finding him, he cried, “Heaven is collapsing!”
And he ordered the man to stand on the earth,
feet wide, spine tall. He said, “Hoist
that copper pillar on your shoulder. Now stay.”

My dear, I have wanted to be the strongest man.
I have hoisted and held the pillar until
my bones have buckled, my spine warped.
It all falls down eventually.

After a while, even a strong man’s shoulder
grows tired and sore. After a while, even
the strongest man must shift a burden
to his other shoulder. And though he is careful,
though he wills himself to be solid,
the earth quakes, it trembles as he shifts
his weight. And though heaven stays up,
things on earth fall down.

My love, I am not the strongest man.
I have fallen down and brought heaven
down with me. My love, I have dropped the pillar.
I have seen the crash of paradise and felt
the weight of its rubble. I have seen the vines
grow up green amidst the wreckage.
We have walked these ruins together.
It is easier here to laugh. I’m no longer
frightened of falling. Heaven is no place for us.
Here, are your shoulders tired, too? Come.
Let’s lie down in this grass. Feel how the earth
reaches up to meet us. Oh love, what is this
beauty, I am trembling.

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