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"The Twentieth Century" by Kim Nam Jo

  • Provider
    LTI Korea
  • Issued Date
    VOL.27 SPRING 2015
  • Running Time


The Twentieth Century


I loved the Twentieth Century.

I met my life as my betrothed
and through my life-studies
(fated to begin most miserably
on fields of war and death)
I was awakened to pure and passionate yearning
and the nobility of life.

I loved the Twentieth Century.
I loved its shuddering, suffering, and trembling hope.
I loved the sublime loneliness of my contemporaries,
those talented people, distant as stars
and quite as beautiful,
with their superabundant civilizations
and deeply thoughtful intellectual traditions.
I felt greatly honored
to be graced by their light.

I loved the Twentieth Century.
I loved its aesthetics of heart-numbing contrition,
its shame and the ache of its wounds
and ah, its floods of bitter grief:
“Yes, I did wrong, I did wrong.”

I ever so much loved the Twentieth Century
whose lessons and blood, now transfused
into a new millennium, reverberate
through the deepest of nerves.

p. 49

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