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Nostalgia by Jeong Ji-yong

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

At the eastern end of a wide plain
a creek chattering an old tale meanders out
a pied ox
bellows lazily in the gold waning light

Can I forget that place even in dreams?

When the ashes cool in the grate
the wind cries over vacant fields like horses racing
my aging father in a doze
props his head upon a straw pillow

Can I forget that place even in dreams?

My heart raised on the soil
yearning for the blue of the sky
I look for arrows shot recklessly
drenching myself in the dewy grass

Can I forget that place even in dreams?

Like night waters dancing upon the mythical sea
my elder sister’s flying black hair
my plain insouciant wife
barefoot through the seasons
harvesting rice with the blistering sun on their backs

Can I forget that place even in dreams?

The stars aswirl in the sky, transferring
my foot to unknowable sand castles
crows cawing circling past
a shabby roof
sitting around a hazy fire murmuring softly

Can I forget that place even in dreams?

 

poem in original Korean

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Rain by Jeong Ji-yong

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

Shadow passes
over stone,

*

Elsewhere a chill wind
gathers.

*

Vying together
tails flying up,

*

Spindly-legged
mountain bird scurrying.

*

A rapid forms
gaunt white current,

*

Splitting off
fingers outspread.

*

Pause
Sudden drops spurt,

*

Noisily treading
red leaves.

 

poem in original Korean

 


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


The Road There by Kim So-wol

 

Thinking about
saying
“I miss him”
I miss him

 

Should I just leave
Still
Again once more. . .

 

The crows in the mountains, the field crows
caw
that the sun’s setting in the western mountain.

 

The river ahead the river behind
the flowing water:
“Come, come and follow, let’s follow”
flows and keeps flowing.

 

(translated from the Korean by geul)


Self-portrait by Yun Dong-ju

Going round a mountain, alone I seek out a well, out-of-the-way in farm country,
and quietly look down.

Inside the well the moon is bright, the clouds flow by, the sky
spreads out, the blue wind blows, and there is fall.

And there is a young man.
Somehow the young man turns hateful.

Thinking as I return, the young man becomes pitiful.
When I go back to look again, the young man is there just as before.

Again the young man turns hateful.
Thinking as I return, I begin to miss the young man.

Inside the well the moon is bright, the clouds flow by, the sky
spreads out, the blue wind blows, there is fall,
and the young man is there like a memory.

(translated from the Korean by geul)