(translated from the Korean by geul)
Pa was a servant. The night deepened, still he didn’t come.
Only standing was Grandmother, old as onion roots, and one flowering jujube tree.
Though, Ma, moon-bellied, said she craved just one green apricot…
Inside the earthen walls, under the kerosene lamp light
Mother’s son with the blackened nails
Was it the year of the Gabo Reform? Grandfather who said I’m not coming back from the sea, whose thick head of hair and those big eyes they say I take after.
What’s brought me up these twenty-three years is eight-tenths the wind.
The world’s just shameful the more I look.
While some read a felon in my eyes and
Others read a fool on my lips
I won’t repent a thing.
On any morning splendidly springing to
In poetry’s dew beading my forehead
Always a few drops of blood mixed in
Be it sunshine or shadow tongue lolling out
Like a sick dog, panting have I come.