College Days by Ki Hyeong-do

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

under the wooden chair a pile of books thrown out

the white poplar woods were deep and lovely but

there, even the tree leaves were used as weapons

when they reached the woods, the young men,

as if they had steeled themselves in advance,

passed by with eyes closed; upon the stone steps

I read Plato, always then gunfire rang out

when the magnolia season arrived, friends scattered

****to prison or military service

a lower classman who wrote poetry confessed he was

****a government informant

there was a professor I respected but he was a man of few words

after a few winters passed I became a loner

and then it was graduation, I was afraid of leaving the university

 

poem in original Korean

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