Hoju Bihang-gi*

eh! the plane! the plane!
††††come to rescue a princess
††††††††hoju bihang-gi like silver
††birds above our skylines
over the wires †††††††a plane!
a silver plane! coming to
††††††††††††save their hoju princess
††to fly her to hawaii! or
†††††††††††††††††anywhere but here! her fur
††††coat trailing in the dust
on the sleepy seoul tarmac
†††††††††silver plane full of furs!
come to rescue her again
††††††††††††††this time – from us! but
††††we’re just kids! running
†around in the lanes or
looking up at the sky –
††††††††to see planes! not like
††††the black planes full of
†††fire – hoju bihang-gi!
big silver bird ††††glides
††††††††††††across the sky the sound
††††of trumpets – †††ta-da! it’s
a plane! eh! an ††††australian
††††aeroplane – full of hoju
birds & soft toys – the
††plane! come to rescue us?
†††††or a princess? who cares!
it’s a plane! silver winged
†††††††††††bird of prey! liberation
†††all over again! goodbye
†††syngman rhee! goodbye too
††to your australian princess
a plane! a plane! a hoju
††††bihang-gi! eh! †††††lightning!

*trans: “Australian aeroplane”; from 1948 to 1960 Syngman Rhee was president of the First Republic of Korea; his wife, Francesca, was Austrian. Apparently during that time, children would look up to the sky and see aeroplanes and think they were Australian planes, come to rescue their Austrian [sic] princess. This story was related to me by a Korean man in his fifties. The departure of Syngman Rhee and his wife for Hawaii in 1960 was greeted with jubilation by the majority of Koreans.

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