The Persimmon Tree by Lee Jae-mu

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song

The Persimmon Tree by Lee Jae-mu

The persimmon tree is anxious to hear the news,
so it reaches out its branches toward the twig gate,
and gently shakes at the wind
shedding red tears
every fall drop by drop.
The farmer planted it there,
and lived for thirty years;
fifteen years have already passed
since he fled on the train.
The persimmon tree longs for him,
so every spring it sprouts new buds
stretching toward the gate.

감나무 /이재무

감나무 저도 소식이 궁금한 것이다
그러기에 사립 쪽으로는 가지도 더 뻗고
가을이면 그렁그렁 매달아놓은
붉은 눈물
바람결에 슬쩍 흔들려도 보는 것이다
저를 이곳에 뿌리박게 해놓고
주인은 삼십년을 살다가
도망 기차를 탄 것이
그새 십오년인데
감나무 저도 안부가 그리운 것이다
그러기에 봄이면 새순도
담장 너머 쪽부터 내밀어 틔워보는 것이다

Darcy Brandel, Laurie Kopack, Anne Rashid, and Melanie Steyn read the earlier versions of this translation.

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