By an Unnamed Warrior’s Grave by Lee Si-young

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

By an Unnamed Warrior’s Grave by Lee Si-young (1949- )

Leaving you here,
we shouted “the time of reconciliation!”
Lifting up high our gunshot-wounded arms,
clinking the glasses,
we had already forgotten our wounds.
After dancing at the plaza
where democracy was to come
we had forgotten our wounds and all we had sacrificed
to forget you,
finally shaking our heads,
to forget you who were lying down, painted, within the grave.
But the spring sun
that hadn’t removed the paint from your whole body
is not our spring any more.
It’s a lie; it’s hypocrisy.
The warrior, the youth who disappeared as a cold flower
on the dawn of May 27, 1980,
was pushed back by the closing-in forest of guns and bayonets.
Any history that shouts, leaving you here,
is not a history.

무명용사의 무덤 곁에서/ 이시영

너를 여기 두고
화해의 시대를 외쳤구나 우리는
총창으로 그어진 팔을 높이 들어
술잔을 부딪치며
우리는 어느새 우리의 상처를 잊었구나
민주주의가 온다는 광장에서 한바탕 춤을 춘 뒤
우리는 우리의 목발을 잊었구나
너를 잊기 위해
고개 저어 마침내
무덤 속 페인트칠한 채 누운 너를 잊기 위해
그러나 햇빛 아래 네 온몸의 페인트를 벗겨내지 못한
더이상 우리의 봄이 아니다
거짓이다 위선이다
1980년 5월 27일 새벽
좁혀드는 총칼의 숲에 밀리다가
차가운 꽃 한 송이로 스러진 용사여 젊음이여
너를 여기 둔 채 외치는 그 어떤 역사도
역사 아니다

Lee Si-young (1949- ) was born in Gurye, Jeollanamdo. He studied creative writing at Seorabeol College of Arts. Since his literary debut in 1969, he published poetry collections such as The Full Moon (1976), Into the Wind (1986), Friend, the Road Is Far (1988), The Song Dangled with Dew (1991), The Pattern (1994), The Gap (1996), The Quiet Blue Sky (1997), The Silver Whistle (2003), The Sea Lake (2004), The Fragrance of Cow Dung (2005), and For the Dead of Ours (2007). He received many literary awards, including The Jung Ji-yong Literary Award (1996), The Dongseo Literary Award (1998), Modern Buddhist Literary Award (2004), The Jihoon Award (2004), The Baeksok Literary Award (2004). In a recent interview, he said “I have written poetry, resisting the reality and contradiction of the day.” He currently teaches creative writing at Dankuk University in Seoul.


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