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On the Road to Seoul, Korea

Story ID:6913
Written by:Monte Leon Manka (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:retired
Story type:Poem
Location:Hemet CA. USA
Year:1946
Person:Sick, Chelsea Kansas, Kid
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On the Road to Seoul, Korea

On the Road to Seoul, Korea

On the Road to Seoul, Korea

On the Road to Seoul, Korea

As you leave the 29th General Hospital
And head toward the city of Seoul
You pass Shin Kon Dok RR station
In a 24th Corps Jeep, from the motor pool

As you drive along you might see
Some Poppasan resting beside the road
Back-Rack propped up beside him
With a heavy unwieldy load,

Then he starts out again
Straining under the weight
With his long stemmed pipe and staff
When he’s standing straight

He heads for town
In a sorta shuffle
That he can do for miles
Without any trouble.

You might pass a “Honey Wagon”
Filled with Number Two
Pulled by a team of oxen
PU

You speed up to make the pass
Holding your nose
But still the smell
Seems to get into your clothes.

You might pass a Mommason
Holding her parasol tight
And her rubber canoe like shoes
In her clothes of white

You might pass a Charcoal burning truck
Stalled beside the road
Driver in the back stoking the fire
To get up enough steam to haul the load

You might stop at the train crossing
Leaving Seoul in minus-zero weather
To see windowless and cramped Pullman cars
While the riders huddled close together.

The train was loaded from cowcatcher back
People hanging on to the ladder bars
As they rode along
They froze to death and fell off the cars

The trolley cars were electric
Not a window had glass
They rode on crooked tracks
You felt uneasy when you would pass

We heard a trolley bell
Clanging and clanging, looking back
There in front of the trolley
Lay a woman on the track

The conductor removed her
When he got back
Before he could get in gear
She was on her back laying on the track

Two Korean policemen got her took her toward the curb
The wind blew her shawl from her face
The sight was hideous
I saw Leprosy face to face

She wanted to commit suicide
She wanted to die
The cops held her
Until the trolley went by.

Two wheeled carts,
Taxis made of three wheeled motor cycles
A rickshaw or two
Lots and lots of bicycles.

After thirty plus years
Of Japanese occupation
One thing that need lots of care
Was Korea’s mode of transportation

To the XXIVth. Corps PX
Then return to my bunk
Back down the road
How this trip stunk.

Monte L. Manka 03-01-11