Poem: Haenyeo of Jeju Island

Korean diver, photographer Eric Hevesy

Haenyeo mermaids

korean female divers

sun kissed bronze

with eyes so black they’re ancient blue

with iridescent hair flowing,

shimmering like seaweed fins

ebony ink underwater.

Sea merchant women,

treasure chest hunters

saving their families from poverty,

female boss providers of seaside villages,

expert excavators navigating

dangerous currents

without breathing apparatus*

water nymph goddesses,

Polynesian cousins

they ripple through liquid tunnels

and mysterious sea caves

surfacing like diamond dolphins.

They outshined their men,

mirroring pregnancy,

capable of more than them,

defying patriarchy

each plunge is a treasure chest birth

of glorious abalone

sunken jeweled shells open

glistening like music

spelling abstracts under bells

of sonic whales humming stories of the world.

Drifting living islands singing

octave lures of oceanic serenades

that return to rebirth.

Meet the Korean women keeping an ancient seafood tradition alive.
— Read on roadsandkingdoms.com/2017/the-female-free-divers-of-jeju/

*The original Haenyeo divers didn’t have wet suits or breathing apparatus, which is pretty amazing; but modern divers now use them.

14 thoughts on “Poem: Haenyeo of Jeju Island

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s