난 시골에서 구부러진 길을 걸으면서
낡고 황폐한 교회를 만났다
수 년 전에 멍든 하늘 아래에
비참한 그 건물은 빛에 속았다.
While walking along a crooked road in the countryside,
I came across an old and dilapidated church.
Many years ago, under a bruised sky, that wretched
building was deceived by the light.
…just like me
연보라색 나비가 마비된다
자비의 순간이 언제 올거야?
a lilac butterfly becomes paralyzed
when will mercy’s moment come?
In Korean the words for butterfly, mercy, and paralysis rhyme. I wrote this short poem to serve as a memorization aid for those three words.
소가 비 맞고 서 있다
이쪽 처마 밑에서
나는 비가 그치기를 가다리고 있다
둘은 한참 뒤 서로 눈길을 피하였다
there on the slope
a cow stands being rained on
here under the eaves
I’m waiting for the rain to stop
after a while we avoided each other’s gaze
This is poem 83 from Flowers of a Moment, which is a small volume of poetry by Korean author Ko Un that I am currently translating into English.
달걀 밖 어미닭
달걀 속 병아리
그들은 온통 한 몸이라네
outside the egg is a hen
inside the egg is a chick
they are entirely one body
This is poem 70 from Flowers of a Moment, which is a small volume of poetry by Korean author Ko Un that I am currently translating into English.
I must admit that some of the poems that I worked on this morning proved to be quite a challenge.
텅 빈 거리에서
눈송이가 내 이마에 내린다
빛 없이 길을 잃었어요
on a deserted street
snowflakes fall upon my brow
without light I am lost
어두운 하늘로 도망가기 전에
우아한 참새는 오늘 꿈들이 없을 거라고 선포했다
땅에 쓰러지는 동안 작은 도토리는 듣지 말라고 운다
before flying away into a dark sky
an elegant sparrow declared that there would be no dreams today
tree branches sway
as it falls to the earth a little acorn cries, do not listen
This is the first Korean poem that I ever wrote. I wrote it in 2012, when I knew nothing about how to format quoted speech in Korean. I took some time this morning to fix the quoted speech and to clean up the verse. I don’t think that it is a particularly strong poem, but I did want to share it.
어두운 그림자는 나타나다
창문밖에 앉아 있는 올빼미가 저보다 훨씬 슬기로운 것 같다
어둠 속을 보는 올빼미가 두렵지 않다
Dark shadows arise.
The owl that is perched outside of the window seems far wiser than I.
He looks into the obscurity and is not afraid.
부드러운 그 구름안에 신비감이 있다
두려움 없는 집시처럼 어둠이 온다
조만간 어둠과 나는 함께 춤추겠다
There is mystery inside of that soft cloud.
Darkness approaches like a fearless gypsy.
Before long, he and I will dance together.
빛은 그것을 통해 자유롭게 흐르지만 – 속을 들여다 볼 수 없다
우리 문들뒤에 비밀이 많다
the heart is like shoji paper…
light flows freely through it – but you cannot see inside
behind our doors there are many secrets
image credit: www.ufokim.com
나는 나가는 문이 없는 방에 갇혀 있다
모든 것이 나오지만 아무것도 나갈 수 없다
결국 지친 내 몸은 살살 열리고 잠들게 된다
I am trapped in a room with no exit.
Everything comes in but nothing goes out.
At last my weary body gently opens and sleep comes.
*Korean translation edited for clarity by Seok Jin Wook