Tag Archives: Kim So-wol

Cigarette by Kim So-wol

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

Always-remembered comrade of
my long sighs, my cigarette!
I have met people who say
you grow on the grave of a miss
born, and as soon passed away,
so long ago the story is forgotten.
Dark smoke undulating and collapsing
   before my eyes
ember that only burns to vanish.
Ah, this my anguished heart.
My endless days of melancholy
let them pass with you as one.

 

original Korean

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A Long Time from Now by Kim So-wol

(translated from the Korean by geul)

A long time from now, if you were to look for me
then my words would be, “I have forgotten you.”

If you were to inwardly reproach me
“After much longing, I have forgotten you.”

If you were to still reproach me
“I have forgotten you because I could not believe it.”

I have not forgotten you today nor yesterday and
a long time from now, then, “I have forgotten you.”

 


original Korean


Invocation of the Dead by Kim So-wol

(translated from the Korean by geul)

O shattered name!
O name parted from me in mid-air!
O name without owner!
O name I’ll call until I die!

The words left in my heart,
In the end, I wasn’t able to utter all.
O you whom I loved!
O you whom I loved!

The red sun is hanging from the western summit.
The herd of deer also cry sadly.
Atop the mountain that’s sitting, fallen off to the side,
I call your name.

I call your name til I can’t bear the grief of it.
I call your name til I can’t bear the grief of it.
The sound of my call sweeps forward but
sky and earth are too far apart.

Though I turn to stone standing here
O name I’ll call until I die!
O you whom I loved!
O you whom I loved!

*The title in Korean is cho-hon (초혼), which means calling out to the dead. There is an old Korean funeral custom in which a survivor of the deceased (female if the deceased is male and vice versa) goes up on the roof and holding a (traditional) blouse of the deceased with both hands, flutters it facing north and calls out the deceased’s name three times.


산산이 부서진 이름이여!

허공 중(虛空中)에 헤어진 이름이여!

불러도 주인(主人) 없는 이름이여!

부르다가 내가 죽을 이름이여!

심중(心中)에 남아 있는 말 한 마디는

끝끝내 마저 하지 못하였구나.

사랑하던 그 사람이여!

사랑하던 그 사람이여!

붉은 해는 서산(西山) 마루에 걸리었다.

사슴의 무리도 슬피 운다.

떨어져 나가 앉은 산(山) 위에서

나는 그대의 이름을 부르노라.

설움에 겹도록 부르노라.

설움에 겹도록 부르노라.

부르는 소리는 비껴 가지만

하늘과 땅 사이가 너무 넓구나.

선 채로 이 자리에 돌이 되어도

부르다가 내가 죽을 이름이여!

사랑하던 그 사람이여!

사랑하던 그 사람이여!

Listen to it being recited in Korean here.


“San-yu-wha” (산유화) by Kim So-wol

(translated from the Korean by geul)

In the mountain a flower blooms
a flower blooms
no matter fall spring summer
a flower blooms

 

In the mountain
in the mountain
the blooming flower
thus alone stays in bloom

 

a little bird crying in the mountain
fond of the flower
lives
in the mountain

 

In the mountain a flower fades
a flower fades
no matter fall spring summer
a flower fades


산에는 꽃 피네
꽃이 피네
갈 봄 여름 없이
꽃이 피네

산에
산에
피는 꽃은
저만치 혼자서 피어 있네

산에서 우는 작은 새요
꽃이 좋아
산에서
사노라네

산에는 꽃 지네
꽃이 지네
갈 봄 여름 없이
꽃이 지네


The Road by Kim So-wol

Yesterday too
at the home of the wanderer
crows caw caw cawing
I stayed up all night.

Today
how many more miles
where shall I go?

Shall I go up the mountain?
to the field?
No place is calling, so I can’t go.

That’s nothing, my home
Jeong-ju, Kwak Mountain
cars go and boats go there too.

Hullo there, in the air
that goose
Do you fare well because there’s a road in the air?

Hullo there, in the air
that goose
I stand in the middle of a crossroad with ten paths.

Here, there, here, there forks the road
though the road forks
for me there is no road at all to take.

 

(translated from the Korean by geul)