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Manoa 14.2 (2002-2003) 134

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Cotton Flowers

Ok-koo Kang Grosjean

[Escaping the Oncoming Communists]

On an early Saturday morning
an old Asian woman was
picking up empty cans
along the highway near Gilroy.

The half bent head in white kerchief
reminded me of those cotton flowers
on the parched soil
along Highway 5.

But also the young cotton blossoms
I hungrily ate
while escaping
during the Korean War.


Ok-Koo Kang Grosjean was a poet, essayist, and translator who was born in Korea and came to the United States in the sixties. She translated into Korean the works of Krishnamurti, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Czeslaw Milosz, and Gary Snyder. With her American husband, she translated into English the Korean poet Pak Nam-Su. Her poem in this volume is from A Hummingbird's Dance (Parallax Press, 1994), which renders a life suffused with Buddhist spirituality and deep compassion. In 2000, Ok-Koo passed away after a long illness.

"The Autumn Sky," "Cotton Flowers," and "Looking Up the Oregon Coast" by Ok-Koo Kang Grosjean. Reprinted from A Hummingbird's Dance, © 1993 by Ok-Koo Kang Grosjean with permission of Parallax Press, Berkeley, California,



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