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Lonesome Jar


Written by Korea's renowned lyric poet Jeong Ho-seung, Lonesome Jar: Poetic Fables, a collection of fables for adults is now available in a newly published English edition, offering a delicately nuanced English translation by Brother Anthony of Taizé (An Sonjae).
The title piece "A Hangari Jar" tells the story of the first jar made by a young potter. Unhappy with his first effort, the potter dumps the unsightly jar in his yard. The long-abandoned jar eventually finds use as a pisspot, but is forgotten once again as the potter dies and his kiln crumbles into ruin. The jar spends years in anguish, longing for meaning and value in life. Finally, it is discovered by the potter's son, who returns to his father's kiln as a monk. Building a temple and bell pavilion on the ruins, the monk awards the jar its long-awaited purpose it is buried under the bell as a resonance chamber, giving the bell a clear, ringing tone. At long last, the once forlorn jar becomes "something precious for this world. "Reminding readers that waiting is not in vain, the jar muses, "No matter whose life it is, if you go on waiting and trying . . . life's dream will come true."
The stories in Lonesome Jar: Poetic Fables follow the travails and triumphs of such objects and animals, presenting charmingly anthropomorphized fables. "Lovebirds" tells the story of a one-winged bird that can only fly after finding his other half; Surprise Lilies" relates a tale of two cousins turned respectively into a flower and its leaves in punishment for their forbidden love; The Seomjingang River" gives the account of a rebellious river that finally accepts its destiny of becoming the sea. The brief yet meaningful fables offer insight into the love, patience, and relationships of our human world; with compassion for life and its challenges, they whisper to readers that to live is to love and grow together. Lonesome Jar: Poetic Fables offers twenty such gems that demonstrate Jeong's broad and integrative worldview that spans both Buddhist and Christian traditions.

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LTI Korea Library Holdings