A poem written by an elementary school student has been a hot topic in South Korea.
The poem was written for her mother who died after a long fight with cancer. “A Meal that I Want the Most” was written by Lee Seul, who has had difficulties coping with the loss of her mother. The words in the poem are filled with so much love and sorrow that it has made many readers reflect on their own mothers. The poem recently won first prize in the regional Ministry of Education’s poetry contest.
Below is a translated reproduction of the poem:
<A Meal that I Want the Most>
Although I do nothing,
Although I speak with an annoyed and whining voice,
A meal has always been prepared for me
Which I have taken for granted
Three times a day
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Meals have always been prepared for me
No words of gratitude
No expression of appreciation
Regardless, the meals have always been prepared for me
Why haven’t I known?
Why wasn’t I able to see?
My mom’s wrinkled hands
That prepared the meals?
Why didn’t I hold her?
Why didn’t I say thanks?
The words that I have hidden for a long time
Sitting alone in front of
A meal that I will now never get
“Mom, I love you.”
“Mom, thank you.”
“Mom, rest in peace.”
I can no more
Sit in front of a meal table that you have prepared
Now it’s my turn to prepare a meal for you
I’ll fill it with your favorite food
However, I still miss
The meal you have prepared
The meal I will now never get
The meal I long for the most,
The meal my mom has prepared.
Translated by Juna Moon