Not a camper was stirring, not even for soju.
The tent poles were placed on the platform with care;
The sleeping bags, bug spray and scooter were there.
The waygooks were nestled all snug in their tent
While visions of beaches all through their dreams went.
And I in my hoodie and Paul in his wooly hat
Had just settled down on our take-a-rest mats.
When outside the tent there arose such a sound,
We nearly stopped breathing, hoping not to be found.
Shivering with cold, we clung to each other.
Ok, maybe with terror. What could be that creature?
The moon gave no light through the trees in the woods,
And the flashlight was dead; we’d no batteries with our goods.
And what was it that our straining ears did hear?
A barking loud and guttural, inspiring much fear.
With breaking of branches and crackling of leaves,
The creature made its way nearly under our eaves.
We two novice campers froze in our shelter
While conjuring images of demons and specters.
“Cait, what was that?” Paul barely breathed.
“Shhh! Don’t move!” I hissed, imagining claws unsheathed.
Near the front of the tent, then the side, then the back,
The Jeju Forest Monster was plotting its attack.
The creature circled and the braying continued.
Our muscles grew stiff, every tendon and sinew.
We slept not a wink on that frightful eve,
Listening for the creature, praying it would soon leave.
In the bright morning hours as the sun warmed our tent,
The creature finally went back to its den.
We laughed at ourselves as we packed up our campsite,
For things in the night aren’t so scary in daylight.
Careening through the mist down the winding mountain road,
We set our sights on Jungmun and a new camping abode.
With our super-hero poncho-capes billowing out behind,
Scooter anxiety replaced monster fear in my mind.
We set up our tent in the sand and the silt,
But down toward the water our campsite did tilt.
It turns out that sand’s not so soft after all,
And we awoke at the bottom of the tent in a ball.
With three hours of sleep as we got on our way,
And the weather bringing four seasons in one day,
We decided a love motel was the way to go,
So we packed up once more and went to Seogwipo.
Showered and fed, we toured the island:
Oranges and pineapple, and mushroom-like stone men,
A lava tube, a waterfall, the World Sex Museum;
The good and the bad tourist sites, we did see ‘em.
On the last day we headed north to the ferry
That would take us to Mokpo, then back to our city.
Paul’s patience endured throughout our vacation.
Though I was proud of myself, he was our salvation.
Upon our return, the internet I did search
For in the back of my brain, the Jeju Monster still lurked.
After hours on Google, I found what caused such great fear.
“We’re such pansies,” I told Paul, “We were afraid of a roe deer.”