Translated by Chae-Pyong Song
The Winter Sky by Seo Jung-ju
With the dream of long nights, I wash clean
the beautiful eyebrow of my love in my heart
and transplanted the crescent to the sky.
The fierce bird of dead winter
recognizes its worth and swerves aside.
내 마음 속 우리 님의 고운 눈썹을
즈믄 밤의 꿈으로 맑게 씻어서
하늘에다 옮기어 심어 놨더니
동지 섣달 나르는 매서운 새가
그걸 알고 시늉하며 비끼어 가네
(Darcy Brandel and Melanie Steyn read the earlier versions of this translation.)
Seo Jeong-ju (1915 – 2000) was born in Gochang, Jeollabuk-do. He is considered the founding father of modern Korean poetry. Under the pen name Midang, he published at least 15 collections of poetry. He taught Korean literature at Chosun University, among others. He was also nominated five times for the Nobel Prize in literature. His grandmother’s stories and his interest in Buddhism had a strong influence upon his writing. His works have been translated into a number of languages, including English, French, Spanish and German.