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Castaways in Paradise | "Passing Through: None" by Sun Yung Shin
Castaways in Paradise | "Passing Through: None"
Sun Yung Shin
"What brings you here," he asked. "What do you seek in this high tower, Phaëthon—you, an heir no parent would deny?"1
They saw tracks of animals—goats, the men assumed, but actually deer—but found the corpse of only one. Like so much else in the "other world," they knew not what to make of the sight.
The father put aside his shining crown and told him to draw nearer and took him in his arms: "It would not be appropriate for me to disavow our relationship…"
Consumed by the idea of this small child alone in the wilderness, Columbus inter- vened, pledging the boy "to God and fortune."
How often she would be too terrified to lie down by herself in the deep woods, and wandered to the fields near her old home! ... Often she hid herself at the sight of beasts, forgetting that she was a beast herself. And the bear was frightened by the sight of bears up in the mountains— and afraid of wolves, although her father had been changed to one.
Columbus assumed that the object "must be those of some ancestors of the family; because those houses were of a kind where many persons live in one, and they should be relations descended from only one."
To keep her from successfully appeal- ing to Jupiter, her speech was snatched away: only a growl from deep within her chest, a rumble, hoarse and menacing, remained.
A pile of bare human bones testified to their predilection: "All that could be gnawed on, had been gnawed on, and all that was left, was what could not be eaten, because it was inedible."
The first half of the title of the poem and the text on the right-hand side are from Laurence Bergreen, Columbus: The Four Voyages 1492–1504. The second half of the title of the poem is from page seven of my passport.
1.The text on the left-hand side of the poem is drawn from Book II, Of Mortal Children and Immortal Lusts, Ovid's Metamorphoses, translated by Charles Martin.