I know it’s spring

*

 

 

I know it’s spring
because fruit flies drown in
small puddles formed around
the bathroom sink

and decapitated roaches lie
waiting for me
at dawn
the cat’s nightly amusement

and I eye the large rectangle of sun on
the carpet with longing
Soon I will have positioned myself there
on my back, following
as flowers do in summer
the sun arc across the sky

*

*


The Silence of My Beloved by Han Yong-un

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

He has left. Ah, my beloved has left.

Breaking through the blue light of the mountain towards color-soaked woods I took the lesser path thrusting wildly forward.

The sure and splendid promise, a golden flower, turned to cold dust and blew away in a breath of gentle wind.

The memory of our searing first kiss turned the hand of my fate, then backed away, vanishing.

I was deafened by the sound of his fragrant voice and blinded by his flower-like face.

Love is a human affair and so in meeting there is already within a parting, which I have not failed to reckon with, but separation comes unawares and the surprised heart bursts from the new sorrow.

Yet, I know that making separation a useless source of tears spoils the love, so I transfer the strength of the overflowing sorrow and pour it into the crown of a new hope.

Just as we worry about parting when we meet, when we part we believe that we will meet again.

Ah, my beloved has left but I did not send him away. The love song that cradles my melody enfolds my beloved’s silence and circles it.

 

poem in original Korean

About Han Yong-un


Old Person by Ki Hyeong-do

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

He is easily found out
like some kind of hard lump
unable to flee,
crouching in the shade of the park’s wisteria tree

*

He is sitting
permitting himself only the smallest of movements
my face, my spread shoulders, firm muscles
quietly licked
by the greedy glint in his eyes

*

I hate it, his short pants and the
mouth dribbling with spit and
his grizzled mind that’s
unable to perceive this

*

For the sole reason that I’ve never been there yet
I spit on his world
For the sole reason that he is already a place of exile,
I, protecting my world,
not one step
of his intrusion can I forgive

*

Suddenly I look at him, at the same instant he
drops his gaze to the foot of the wisteria
fumbling unceasingly with his clothes
still with mouth open
as if there was something he wanted to say, as if inside his body
something still remaining was burdensome

*

 

poem in original Korean


Favorite Poems: The Jars by Paul Celan

(translated by Pierre Joris)

 

At the long table of time
God’s jars are boozing.
They guzzle the eyes of the seeing and the eyes of the blind,
the hearts of the ruling shadows,
the hollow cheek of evening.
They are the mightiest of boozers:
they raise to their lips the empty as well as the full
and don’t spill over like you or I.

 

original German poem

 

 


Empty House by Ki Hyeong-do

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

Having lost love I write
Farewell, my abbreviated nights
Winter fog that lingered outside my window
Candles that knew nothing, farewell
White pages that waited for the horror
Tears that stood in for hesitation
Farewell, aspirations no longer mine
Like a blind man fumbling I now lock the door
My poor love, locked in an empty house

 

poem in original Korean