The Comfort Women

“The whole village came out because my mother was crying so hard . . . she cut up the cotton and linen fabrics she had been saving for my wedding.

And she made me new clothes.”

by Oak-ryun Park (1919)

1. Incantation One: The smiling girls

We are the smiling girls

We are the kind girls

Smirking we spin

With dizzy delight

Softly we fall

And stare at the light

(Cover our eyes

For it is too bright)

Surrounded by flowers

So purple and grey

(Blooming for hours)

We hide them away

Inside our pockets

With brimming delight

As softly we giggle

Afloat like a kite

For all is set right

We are the smiling girls.

We are the kind girls.

(Blessed mothers, hear our prayers

Hide us from the evil stares

Help us grow with shrinking cares

Blessed mothers, hear our prayers.)

 2. Incantation 2: The taken girls

like Philamel, so rudely forced.

“Our flowers have fallen

And we have no light.

We are the pulled girls

We are the torn girls

Ripped from the fields

We clung to the earth

Begging for mercy

A shallow rebirth

But there was none; our fingers stained with grass.

Our tongues were cut because we cried

Our bodies burned by blood and lice

There is no light but we cover our eyes

We have no hands to cover our eyes

We have no eyes to shield from the darkness



Try to cover our eyes

We kicked, they cut our feet

We bit, they broke our teeth

Blinded and bloody we lay at their feet

We are the pulled girls, we are the torn girls.

(Mothers, mothers, hear ours creams

Save us from the bloody beams

Bleeding from our broken dreams

Mothers, mothers, hear our screams)

3. Incantation 3: The shamed girls.

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang, but with a whimper.(ELiot)

(Turn us purple, turn us red

Give us sheets to hide our heads

Bless the dying, envy dead,

Turn us purple, turn us red.)

We are the shamed girls

We are the cut girls

Buried we lie

In layers of black

Briefly we breathe

A bloody attack

Open and buried


But always come back

Mothers! Mothers! Hear our cry

We are the

Can you see us where we lie?

Shamed girls

Mothers mothers

We cannot lift

Can you hear us

Our hands our eyes

Can you see us

Are gone

Mothers mothers

We cannot lift

Can you

Our eyes is there

Hear us

A place for us

Just any place


(Mothers, mothers, take our souls

Offered from damnation’s bowls

While we writhe among the coals

Mothers, mothers, take our souls)

 4. Incantation4: The comforted girls

Our flowers have blossomed

And they will not die.

We are the comforted girls.

We are the peaceful girls

Hidden away

From darkness and pain

Washed and renewed

And cleansed from our shame

We have a voice

We are the comforted girls

Our mothers

(Listen now)

Are here

We watch you from high

Our daughters

 (Listen now)

are near

We shift and we sigh

(we are so proud)

Nothing can hurt us)

Listen now.

recovered from pain

No one desert us


Now we have a voice.

We are the comforted girls.

We are the peaceful girls.

Daughters, daughters, each December

Think of us, you should remember.


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