Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid
Autumn Letter by Koh Jung-hee
The day Autumn waited to ripen,
it swelled to the edge of the Black Dragon River.
Despairing that my love couldn’t ripen,
I cut off the road that led to you,
but inside my heart was a road
and I couldn’t cut off the road of my heart.
The day Autumn deepened spectacularly,
it illuminated the foothills of Sumi Mountain.
Angry that my love couldn’t deepen,
I closed the door that opened toward you,
but inside my heart was a door
and I couldn’t close up the door of my heart.
Wet with the tears of inky rain,
Autumn turned around and left me.
Sorrowful that I couldn’t let go of my love,
I cut off the branch that reached out to you,
but inside my heart were bountiful branches
and I couldn’t cut off a branch of my heart.
Though I cut the road and closed the door,
though I close the door and cut the branch,
you arrive as the evening river.
Though, with a horse’s bit, I restrain myself from longing,
though I press down the sprouting thought of you with a rock,
you shake as the vast field of grass.
Since even the sun and the moon cannot rest upon that field,
again I might have to open another road.
Again I might have to open another door.