A Missionary Man’s Monarchy

Posted by in My Travels, The East

An Ode to Allen

Steeped in 500 years of Confucianism
The heritage of a dynastic Yi hermitage
Indoctrinated its population in the prism
Of expanding stasis, getting on in age.

Here begins the story of Horace
As he happed on the hapless case
Of Kojong and his hermit race
In a time of encroaching barbarians and Yi’s passing grace.

Entering on a medical ruse, Allen early paid his dues
A wife-with-child in tow, he’d much to lose
Sharp of face, a sharp-tongued missionary that
Found favor in the court at which Kojong sat.

The wedge of medicine he’d use to pry up
The walls foundation of Confucian doctrine
To catch the souls to fly up
That had till now been locked in.

The accidental occidental entered on a rough note
With the Kapsin at the young Min’s throat
Though misfortune would fall at his doorstep
Fortune would deliver a healing rep.

Thrice diplomat to mission years,
This patriotic and mission minded healer
Remained dedicated despite his fears
And forged concessions for American dealers.

To the end, a devoted diplomat
Preached the gospel of Korean independence
But those who knew, later said of that
He’d played into the Japanese dance

The Choson Allen knew
Came to a bitter end at the hand
Of the Japanese as their empire grew
To encompass the Korean land.