Tag Archives: love poems

Chungnamdangjin Woman by Jang Jeong-il

(translated from the Korean by geul)

Where could she have gone, the woman from Chungnamdangjin*?
She who left me after violating me
snatching the virginity defended for twenty-three years and gifting me with syphilis
Chungnamdangjin woman, I think I’m going to have to hate you
Turning me into a man with her ardor like a power plant
I don’t think I can hate her
Chungnamdangjin woman, my wish was to marry the first woman I slept with
My life’s wish was to live all my life with the first woman I held in my arms
living together without breaking up
having a child with the first woman I locked lips with
Naming my first daughter that the first woman I kissed lays in my arms was my life’s wish
But you got away – “I’m a very bad woman”
Taking a taxi you got away – “Don’t look for me”
Taking a yellow taxi you vanished with your eyes all red
I should’ve memorized the number on the back of the taxi
Where did you hide, Chungnamdangjin woman, with a drop of my saliva
on your small lips, how can you smile with pleasure?
You who said a man and a woman didn’t need a place to lie down
Chungnamdangjin woman, you who laughed haha saying you lived
near a power plant as a child, giggling, Chungnamdangjin woman
Maybe that’s why at the Dangjin thermoelectric power plant in my dream
A woman’s face as black as coal shooting up terrifyingly inside the furnace
Chungnamdangjin woman’s face
under a street light, round like her face, I am standing, I stand tall with regret
Actually what I wanted, what I secretly wanted was that she would go away
Chungnamdangjin woman, she stands under the dim lamp
of the standing-only bar under the lamp that’s freckled with fly droppings
Does that mean I abandoned you rather than you abandoning me?
Or did we secretly abandon each other? and why?
And why is the fate of our 1960 generation such as it is?
The love I made with the Chungnamdangjin woman making the beast with two backs
will become a sordid poem bruited about by idle people
spread around between heaven and earth until one day the rumor reaches the velvety
ears of that Dangjin woman who’ll giggle
And the rumor will reach the ears of my future fiancee
and when she asks in a soft voice “Was she pretty? How was she?”
Love, I shall fall into the abyss of memory, Chungnamdangjin woman
she whose name I’ve forgotten



*City of Dangjin in South Chungcheong Province

poem in Korean


Flower (꽃) by Ki Hyeong-do (기형도)

(translated from the Korean by geul)


On a day when my soul flames up

in the garden where your heart grows sick

I will become your blood

hotly spewed all the night

and rise up as a flower.


If it’s you

I would gladly have my waist cut


I will sew up your heart

with my close breath


If I lay my head in the place where the wind blows

I could happily fall asleep standing.


poem in Korean






Hand that I love by Choi Seung-ja

(translated from the Korean by geul)



There, an unknowable rain is coming down
pitiable repose coming down to moisten
when I hold your hand professing love
the melancholy of existence catching in the ten fingers
there, an unknowable rain is coming down
pitiable peace coming down to moisten


poem in Korean



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

Seoul Winter by Han Kang

(translated from the Korean by geul)


Someday when someday comes and that someday you come
if on that someday you come as love
my heart would be suffused with shimmering water-light, your love
submerged in my heart
could hardly breathe,
I’ll be your respiration, on your ink-black lips
I’ll be your labored breath, if you come, my love,
if you could but come;
on my iced-over cheeks
I’ll let you hear the river-sound
that you love so


original Korean poem

about Han Kang