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Poetry Magnum Opus

Pyolgok or changga


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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
Korean Verse

Pyolgok or Changga (love song), called Koryo songs from the10th-14th centuries are Korean folk songs put to music usually sung by women and reserved for special occasions. There is a refrain sometimes mid stanza, sometimes at the end of the stanza that consists of "pure onomatopoeia" of drum beats and erratic jingles which establishes the tone that carries the spirit of the poem; these do not translate and are therefore omitted from any English translations. But I love that the original language has the flexibility to bring that element to the verse. 

The theme was most often love. The verse appeared in 2 forms, the short stanza in which the poem was contained with 1 stanza and the extended form in which the poem was written in many stanzas. The use of local proverbs is common. Whichever was used the form was undisciplined and free.

              Ode on the Seasons found at Anthology of Korean Literature

              With virtue in one hand
              And happiness in the other,
              Come, come you Gods,
              With virtue and happiness.

              The river in January
              Now freezes, now melts.
              Born into this world,
              I live alone.

             You burn like a lantern
              In the February moon.
              Your bright figure
              Shines upon the world.
                           ---anonymous Koryo Song

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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