Tag Archives: translations of Korean poetry

Another Hometown by Yun Dong-ju

translated from the Korean by geul

 

 

The night I returned to my hometown
my skeleton followed me and lay down in the room with me.

*

The dark room opens up out into the universe,
could it be from the skies – the wind blows in like sound.

*

Looking closely
at the finely weathering skeleton
with tears welling up – is it me weeping?
Or is it the skeleton weeping?
Or is it the beautiful soul that’s weeping?

*

The faithful dog
stays up all night and barks at the darkness.

*

The dog barking at the darkness
is no doubt pursuing me.

*

Let’s go let’s go
like a person on the run.
Keeping the skeleton in the dark
Let’s move on to yet another lovely hometown.

 

poem in Korean

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Snow by Yun Dong-ju (December 1936)

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

Last night
snow came down in heaps

*

It must be a blanket to cover
the roof
the road the field
so they won’t be cold

*

That’s why
it only falls in cold winter

 

original Korean

about the poet


Anchovy Love by Kim Kyeong-mi

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

Remove the shit pull off the head and nothing left to eat – small anchovy

Press it and water comes out any old place

hydrophilicity

Crime of making itself sad for too long

Love you can swallow whole bones and all can’t be common

 

original Korean


Self-portrait by Choi Seung-ja

(translated from the Korean by geul)

 

I am nobody’s disciple
nor can I be anyone’s friend.
Dreaming a wicked dream in the weeds or bog
Offspring of darkness, flesh spied in shadow.

*

Mother, I am darkness.
From the morning old Adam and Eve
got up from the grass
I am the sadness of a long body.

*

In the bright streets children
twitter like birds
bloom like flowers
those dazzling natural people in the sunlight
the docile liquor they drink
doesn’t suit the split end of this tongue.
Coiled up in the weeds or the bog
only waiting for the poison of my sadness to spread through this body

*

Just as the child in the womb seeks
the mother’s love
facing the sky crying furtively
I dream an evil dream from the sun.

 

poem in Korean


“How to fight loneliness” by Wilco and Choi Seung-ja’s “In order not to be lonely”

I serendipitously discovered two poems about dealing with loneliness. One is a song by Wilco, an American alternative rock band from Chicago. I translated the English lyrics of the song into Korean in case anyone out there was thirsting for a translation.  The other is a Korean poem by Choi Seung-ja, which is translated below.

 

How to fight loneliness – Wilco (click to listen)

*

How to fight loneliness
Smile all the time
Shine your teeth ’til meaningless
Sharpen them with lies

And whatever’s going down
Will follow you around
That’s how you fight loneliness
You laugh at every joke
Drag your blanket blindly
Fill your heart with smoke
And the first thing that you want
Will be the last thing you ever need
That’s how you fight it

Just smile all the time
Just smile all the time
Just smile all the time
Just smile all the time

 

외로움을 싸우는 법
항상 웃어
의미 없을 때까지 이를 빛나게 해
거짓으로 이를 날카롭게 갈아

그리고 뭐가 일어나던지
그게 널 따라다닐 거야
그렇게 외로움을 싸워
모든 농담에 웃고
네 담요를 장님처럼 끌고
네 마음을 연기로 가득 채우고
그리고 네가 원하는 첫 번째는
네가 필요하지 않을 것인 거야
그렇게 외로움을 싸워

그냥 항상 웃어
그냥 항상 웃어
그냥 항상 웃어
그냥 항상 웃어

 

In order not to be lonely by Choi Seung-ja

*

In order not to be lonely
I eat a lot
In order not to suffer
I drink a bit of alcohol
In order not to dream
I swallow a sleeping pill.
Lastly, I turn off the switch
to my brain

*

Then all night long only the sound of the clock
walks around the empty room
However, listen carefully
Saddened by the careless absence
my shoes fall to the side and weep

 

poem in Korean