Flowers beyond Borders by Noh Hyam-rim

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photographed by Hye Hyon

Flowers Beyond Borders

When flowers wither, where do they go?
The world begins with little things—
wildflowers that bloom without sound
under the bright sunlight.
Strung together, the size of a mung bean,
they stand squarely while beads of their lives shake,
making a slant in the sky.
In my heart they tell me as if a hallucination
that they have vulnerable insides
and that they have sorrow, cold and clear.
When it gets cloudy and the sleet falls,
with the sound of a blue tendon breaking and murmuring,
soon petals rustle down.
Like tears, like smoke,
they lie fallen down on the ground like people.
In the place the flowers fell, time has already come
and swarms like a school of larva.
When flowers fall, where do they go?
What border do they go beyond?
Under what name do they get buried?

꽃들은 경계를 넘어간다/ 노향림

꽃들이 지면 모두 어디로 가나요.
세상은 아주 작은 것들로 시작한다고
부신 햇빛 아래 소리 없이 핀
작디작은 풀꽃들,
녹두알만한 제 생명들을 불꽃처럼 꿰어 달고
하늘에 빗금 그으며 당당히 서서 흔들리네요.
여린 내면이 있다고 차고 맑은 슬픔이 있다고
마음에 환청처럼 들려주어요.
날이 흐리고 눈비 내리면 졸졸졸
그 푸른 심줄 터져 흐르는 소리
꽃잎들이 그만 우수수 떨어져요.
눈물같이 연기같이
사람들처럼 땅에 떨어져 누워요.
꽃 진 자리엔 벌써 시간이 와서
애벌레떼처럼 와글거려요.
꽃들이 지면 모두 어디로 가나요.
무슨 경계를 넘어가나요.
무슨 이름으로 묻히나요.

Noh Hyang-rim (1942- ) is from Haenam, Jeollanam-do and studied English at Jung-ang University in Seoul. She has published poetry collections such as Travel to K Town, A Country Where Snow Doesn’t Fall, A Person Without Longing Can’t See Aphae Isle, A Broken Bell Sound Comes from the Sun. In 1987 she received the Korea Literary Award for A Country Where Snow Doesn’t Fall.

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