Love Song for the Hill of Limits by Moon Jung-hee

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Painted by Kang Jang-won

Love Song for the Hill of Limits by Moon Jung-hee

In deep winter, as I drive over Hangyeryong, the Hill of Limits
with the one I love
I would like to run into an unexpected snow storm.
The news networks compete to report the most snow in a decade.
Sputtering along,
the cars hurry to return to their spots,
but I would rather be held up, overwhelmed by the limits of Hangyeryong.

Oh, the blinding isolation—
would that my fate, not my feet, be held up here
in this fairytale land surrounded by white in all four directions.

When the day quickly darkens,
the abundant snow will turn to terror little by little,
and reality will begin to cast the color of fear.
Even when a helicopter appears,
I would never wave my hand,
even when it drops food
for the wild birds and animals trapped in the snow.

Even when the helicopters,
which sprayed dark bombs
toward the newly alive, young hearts,
mercifully drop the rations evenly
for the daily meals of the  elk and pheasants,
I will not even show the hem of my dress.

I would not know what to do with this brief blessing,
willingly kept by the beautiful Hangyeryong.

한계령을 위한 연가/ 문 정 희

한겨울 못 잊을 사람하고
한계령쯤을 넘다가
뜻밖의 폭설을 만나고 싶다.
뉴스는 다투어 수십 년 만의 풍요를 알리고
자동차들은 뒤뚱거리며
제 구멍들을 찾아가느라 법석이지만
한계령의 한계에 못 이긴 척 기꺼이 묶였으면.

오오, 눈부신 고립
사방이 온통 흰 것뿐인 동화의 나라에
발이 아니라 운명이 묶였으면.

이윽고 날이 어두워지면 풍요는
조금씩 공포로 변하고, 현실은
두려움의 색채를 드리우기 시작하지만
헬리콥터가 나타났을 때에도
나는 결코 손을 흔들지는 않으리.
헬리콥터가 눈 속에 갇힌 야생조들과
짐승들을 위해 골고루 먹이를 뿌릴 때에도…

시퍼렇게 살아 있는 젊은 심장을 향해
까아만 포탄을 뿌려대던 헬리콥터들이
고라니나 꿩들의 일용할 양식을 위해
자비롭게 골고루 먹이를 뿌릴 때에도
나는 결코 옷자락을 보이지 않으리.

아름다운 한계령에 기꺼이 묶여
난생 처음 짧은 축복에 몸둘 바를 모르리.

(Originally published in The Gwangju News, January, 2012)

Mun Jung-hee (1947- ) was born in Bosung, Jeollanam-do. She received her Ph.D. from Seoul Women’s University. She made her literary debut in 1969 in The Literature Monthly. Her poetry collections include The Baby Brier, For Men, Now Following the Rose, I am the Door, The Joy of Love, and The Prolific Virgin. She received such prestigious awards as the Modern Literature Award and the Sowol Poetry Award.

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