Poems for the Summer 2009

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Poems for the Summer 2009



Han Yong-un (1879 - 1944) 2

My Lover’s Silence 3

I cannot tell 3

Secrets 3

An artist 4

Your face 4

Kim So-wol (1902 - 1934) 5

Azaleas 5

On the hills are blooming flowers 6

Spring night 6

Unable to forget 6

Chong Chi-yong (1902 - ?) 7

Homesickness 7

Windowpane 1 8

Paekrokdam: White Deer Pool 8

Kim Yongrang (1902 – 1950) 10

Until Peonies Bloom 10

The Cuckoo 10

Brightness 12

A Geomungo 12

So Chong-ju (1915 - 2000) 13

Self-portrait 13

Flower snake 14

Leper 14

Noontide 14

Barley-time summer 15

Nightingale 15

Open the door 15

Beside a chrysanthemum 16

Pak Mog-wŏl (1916 - 1978) 16

Lonely appetite 16

Animal poems 17

The moon 18

On a certain day 18

Lowering the coffin 19

Kim Su-Yŏng (1921 – 1968) 20

A Prayer 20

Remembering That Room 22

Variations on the Theme of Love 22

Grass 24


Cho Chi-hun (1920 - 1968) 24

To my disease 25

Kayageum 26

Ko Un (1933 - ) 28

Ch'o˘n-u˘n Temple 28

In a Temple's Main Hall 28

A Drunkard 29

A Shooting Star 30

The Moon 30

A Green Frog 30

Ripples 30

One Day 31

Old Buddha 31

Rooks 31

Wild Lilies on Nogodan Ridge 31

On the Suspension Bridge at Namhae 32

The Passage of Time 32

Pyŏng-ok 33

Pong-t’ae 34

Chae-suk 34

The Well 35

Headmaster Abe 35

Man-sun 37

No-More’s Mother 37

Shin Kyong-Nim (1935 - ) 38

On a Winter's Night 38

Country Relatives 39

Farmers' Dance 40

Mokkye Market 41

Ku Sang (1919 – 2004) 41

During the Armistice Negotiations 1952-3 41

Before a War Cemetery of North Korean Dead 42

Easter Hymn 43

Mysterious Buds 43

A Pebble  44

Chŏn Sang-Pyŏng (1930-1993) 45

River waters 45

Back to Heaven 45

In the manner of Tu Fu 46

Wings 46


Kim Kwang-Kyu (1941 - ) 47

Going Home in the Evening 47

No! Not so 47

Faint Shadows of Old Love 49

The Land of Mists 50

Chonggi Mah (1939 - ) 51

Deathbed 51

The reason for flowers 51

Kim Sŭng-Hŭi (1952 - ) 52

Institutions 52

I'm laughing 52

To get out of the cavern 54

Hwang Dong-kyu (1938 - ) 55

Wind Burial 1 55

When I see a wheel 56

Flower by Kim Ch’un-su (1922 – 2004) 57

An Do-Hyon (1961 - ) 57

For You 57

One coal briquette 58

A Sealed Map by Lee Pyŏng-Ryul (1967 - ) 59

Winter Pond by Jang Seok-Nam (1965 - ) 59

Flatfish by Mun Tae-Jun (1970 - ) 60

Giraffe by Song Chan-ho (1959 - ) 60

The Two Rooms of the Heart by Na Hui-Deok (1966 - ) 61

Shall we spread the tarpaulin? by Kim Ju-Tae (1966 - ) 61

Mendicant by Yi Mun-Jae (1959 - ) 62

Melancholy Walnut Pie by Hwang Pyŏng-Sŭng (1970 -) 64

Dry Ice by Kim Kyŏng-Ju (1976 - ) 64



Han Yong-un (1879 - 1944)

Han Yong-un was born in Hongsong, South Chungchong Province, in 1879. Having studied classical Chinese in his native village, he began at the age of twenty to study Buddhist scriptures at a Buddhist monastery in Mt. Sorak and became a Buddhist monk in 1905. In 1908, he traveled in Japan, visiting Kyoto and Tokyo. After the Japanese annexation of Korea in 1910, he played a leading role in resisting Japan’s policies toward Korean Buddhism and the Korean people at large. He even lived for a while in exile in Manchuria. In the 1919 Korean Independence Movement, he was one of the most active among the thirty-three signers of the Declaration of Independence and had to spend three years in prison. It was presumably during this period of imprisonment that he began to write modern-style poems in Korean in response to the poems of Tagore. These "modern" poems, distinguished from both his sijo poems and his poems in Chinese, were collected in a volume, The Silence of Love, which was first published in 1926. A great Korean Buddhist, patriot and poet, he died in Seoul in 1944.




My Lover’s Silence


(님의 침묵) Trans. F. Cho

My love is gone.

Ah, the one I love is gone.

Crossing the narrow path to the maple grove

that shatters the mountain green, she tore away from me.

Promises, like bright gold blossoms,

turned into ash scattered by gentle wind.

The memory of a sharp first kiss reversed my destiny and then,

retreating, faded away to nothing.

I was deafened by her scented voice;

blinded by her flowerlike face.

Love is a human thing—when meeting I already feared marting,

and still with separation, my heart burst with fresh sorrow.

But to turn parting into useless tears destroys love,

and so I turned the strength of sadness into new hope.

Just as a meeting creates worry of parting,

parting creates hope of meeting again.


My love is gone, bu I didn’t send her away.

My common song of love wraps itself around my lover’s silence.




I cannot tell

Whose footstep is that paulownia leaf, quietly falling, a perpendicular wave drawn in the windless air?

Whose face is that patch of blue sky that sometimes peeps through the menacing black clouds driven by the west wind after long, tedious rain?

Whose breath is that subtle scent lingering in the still air around that old pagoda, drifting from the green moss on a somber flowerless tree?

Whose song is that small stream winding from an unknown spring, ringing over the pebbles?

Whose poem is that evening glow adorning the sunset, its lotus-like heels treading the boundless sea, its jade-like hands caressing the endless sky?

The burnt-out ash turns back into oil. Over whose night does the tiny lamp of my ever-burning heart keep vigil?



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