01 March 2008
This is another poem by Shiva Ryu, for those who wanted some more. I took some liberty in translating this poem. In translating, I sacrifice correctness of vocabulary and grammar in order to convey the overall meaning of the piece, and hopefully the writer's intention. (I just hope I read Ryu correctly.) It is a pen name, a Korean name, if faithfully translated 'Shi-Hwa Ryu'. His real name is 'Jae-Hyuk Ahn'.
“To know the depth of the sea,
Notes from the Korean War Baby:
How lovely and somewhat tragic this poem seems, yet I have read of other Salt Doll poems
and they reveal other thoughts. ‘To know the depth of you’, I feel that to understand
This Thing of Ours-Adoption, I am melting into a collective “YOU”, into the very essence
of our being. Does that make sense? How about ‘gone into your blood’ to me means to try
and understand the culture of all our heritage parts.
Anthony de Mello, an Indian Catholic priest, wrote on this version about the ‘salt doll that arrives at the ocean after a long and arduous journey. The sea looks so inviting that the doll jumps into it. As the salt doll wades into the water, it starts to dissolve. But rather than trying to get back to dry land, the doll smiles happily and says “At last I know what I really am!”.’
Germaine Hornsby (as told to her by Sandeep Chatterjee, who heard it at Gangotri in the Himalayas)
“A salt doll journeyed for thousand of miles and stopped at the edge of the sea. It was fascinated by this moving liquid mass, so unlike anything it had seen before. "What are you" asked the salt doll. "Come in and see" replied the sea with a smile. So the salt doll waded in. The further it went, the more it dissolved till there was only a pinch of it left. Before the last bit dissolved the doll exclaimed in wonder, "Now I know what I am ".
Another “Salt Doll” story: Here
“Then one day she came to the edge of the sea and was quite astounded by the restless surging mass of water. 'What are you?' she cried. 'Touch me and you will find out,' answered the sea. So the little salt doll stuck her toe in, and had a truly lovely sensation. But when she withdrew her foot, the toe had disappeared. 'What have you done to me?' she cried. 'You have given something of yourself in order to understand,' the sea replied.
"The little salt doll decided that if she really wanted to know the sea, she would have to give more of herself. So next she stuck in her whole foot, and everything up to her ankle disappeared. Surprisingly, in an inexplicable way, she felt very good about it. So she continued going further and further into the sea, losing more and more of her self, all the while understanding the sea more deeply. As a wave broke over the last bit of her, the salt doll was able to cry out, 'Now I know what the sea is. It is I.' "
The KWB thinks this stuff is well, deep...yet simple, uhh, like the sea! (Hey he is just a simple guy trying to figure this all out.)
Not all Adoptees want to search. Some may never do so, for various reasons they just don’t want to know. Even to begin a search can be daunting, we can question whether to ‘rock the boat’ or offend our birth family. There are no clear answers.
Some Adoptees find the search becomes so intense and are so driven that they begin to ‘dissolve’, melting down emotionally. Our souls go through breakdowns, reversals, pauses, stops and fits. Perhaps discovery of others leads to happiness…or rejection.
Each of us must learn from others who have put out there in cyberspace or books their own journeys.
The KWB is still in the process of melting into the sea; he has found that he is part of a greater Sea of Life. As he continues to discover he must completely melt and merge with the Allness of humanity, past, present, and future. He still cannot understand it all, just pieces of it.
In the Afterlife, according to Christian teachings, he will Know All Truth. The Adoption as a Child of God will make sense then. It will become real only after he has melted completely. Is this death, or ‘becoming part of the sea once more’?
As we "dissolve into the process” hopefully each one will “Know what I am, it is I”. Where ever you are in the process, put your toe into the sea, to lose yourself may lead to discovering yourself and becoming one with the sea.