Absence and Sound
What to do with an old sewage plant?
Easy. Turn concrete sewers into sidewalks,
holding tanks into gardens. Build scenic
boardwalk bridges, something to see.
Tourist telescopes scour the far shore,
where sun-seeking families picnic, coin-feeding
their own telescopes, watching us
like we watch them.
Straight up the bank, the fountain is quiet.
It’s supposed to impale Seoul’s hazy sky
with 202 vertical meters of river water--
I’d wager it soars, the center of everything.
This muddy stretch of the Han
slides past, oblivious to the absence
of decorative columns,
How about the noise—should the fountain roar?
Is there a hole in the sound of the river?
The cars and buses and subway trains
aren’t silent. Traffic noise and big city bustle
floods the bridges, and
both banks of the Han.
But today, on our sewage island,
talking trumps the traffic
with good noises, people sounds,
Children tumble and fight, giggle and cry.
Elders supervise from a loft of years.
Parents rediscover good conversation
and glide between generations.
Maybe a re-claimed island,
built, yet still becoming,
where people seek