야곡/Nocturne

난 시골에서 구부러진 길을 걸으면서
낡고 황폐한 교회를 만났다

수 년 전에 멍든 하늘 아래에
비참한 그 건물은 빛에 속았다.

…나처럼

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

자비/mercy

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.

Flowers of a Moment: Poem 83

저쪽 언덕에서
소가 비 맞고 서 있다

이쪽 처마 밑에서
나는 비가 그치기를 가다리고 있다

둘은 한참 뒤 서로 눈길을 피하였다

-고은

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

-Ko Un

———————————–

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.

 

 

Flowers of a Moment: Poem 70

달걀 밖 어미닭
달걀 속 병아리
그들은 온통 한 몸이라네

-고은

outside the egg is a hen
inside the egg is a chick
they are entirely one body

-Ko Un

———————————-

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.

듣지 말라고/do not listen

어두운 하늘로 도망가기 전에
우아한 참새는 오늘 꿈들이 없을 거라고 선포했다

나뭇가지가 건드렁거린다
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.

그림자/Shadows

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.

어둠과 함께 춤을 춘다/Dancing with the Darkness

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.

비밀이 많다/Many Secrets

마음은 창호지처럼…
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

 

챃호지

 

image credit: www.ufokim.com

나가는 문이 없는 방/Room With No Exit

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