Poetic Justice and the Role of Literature
- onDecember 10, 2018
- Vol.42 Winter 2018
- byKim Sun-woo
It’s already autumn. As the wind becomes restless and harsh, news from faraway places draws closer. These days my working hours are from midnight to dawn. I watch the sun rise and then I go to sleep. When I’m reading and writing, neatly piecing together the white bones of the night or coming back from a long journey to retrieve missing bone chips, the day breaks. As dawn brightens into morning, I give a prayer of thanks. I’m thankful to the earth for making its daily rotation precisely and without incident. We’re each wandering to our own rhythm, the earth as a constituent of the universe, and me as a constituent of the earth. I’m thankful that we itinerant beings can meet the new day. And in the following second, I pray for forgiveness. Forgiveness because humans will have wreaked violence and destruction on nature or their fellow humans and some will be grieving over this.
There is an expression: “The place that hurts is the body’s center,” and I agree. The earth has many centers. This year, of these centers, these hurting places, I have often prayed for Palestine. Palestine was gripped by the most intense conflicts of the twentieth century. Both the people and the land have suffered, with the country sustaining extreme levels of ethnic and sexual discrimination, the obliteration of human rights, and environmental devastation. It’s for this very reason that it is also a barometer for the justice that humans must restore.