I Reject Your Eulogies and Condolences by Im Dong-hwak

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Melanie Steyn

Photography provided by the 5.18 Memorial Foundation

I Reject Your Eulogies and Condolences by Im Dong-hwak

I reject your eulogies and condolences.
Though I did urinate, hiding in an attic closed on every side,
though I did hide myself, escaping from the city and martial law,
though I still feared random questionings and the sound of whistles late at night.

It was a time of animals or only those who roamed then understood.
Till the outrageous conditions of freedom are invalidated,
I reject the prayers of anyone secure with objective distance,
I reject an age that justifies your cunning and metamorphosis,
and the bunch of flowers you offer with white, blood-stained hands.
I reject eulogies written in a skillful, glib language.

Till the questions are clear,
questions about the abundant harvest of that fall,
highways, and the children’s grand park,
bargained for with the cost of precious deaths;
till you and I fully understand
violence cannot push away violence,
no, violence cannot drive away violence.

I reject all the modern histories you write,
the red tongues that justify your prejudices and cunning,
the ease, laziness, and languor
with which you stipulate that time was an age of peace,
the clear failure and cynicism, yours and mine,
and your offering of flowers and praises
that you shout, enforcing another sacrifice.

For my own sake, who won’t betray others and won’t be betrayed by others again,
and for the sake of those who repent honestly and are forgiven,
I reject your offering of flowers and your visit.
I watch your behavior and your violence.

너희들의 조사와 애도를 거부한다/ 임동확

너희들의 조사와 애도를 거부한다
사방이 막힌 다락방에 숨어 오줌을 누고
계엄령 내린 도시를 벗어나 은신했지만
여전히 불심검문과 늦은 밤의 호루라기 소리를

헤매 본 자만이 아는 짐승의 시간들
그 화난 자유의 조건이 무효화될 때까지
나는 객관의 거리를 확보한 자의 기도나
너의 교활함과 변신을 변호해 줄 세월과
피 묻은 흰 손으로 바치는 꽃 타래를 사절한다
능숙하고 매끄러운 문장의 조사를 거부한다

고귀한 죽음의 대가로 흥정한
그 가을 들판의 풍년과 고속도로
어린이대공원에 대한 의혹이 풀릴 때까지
폭력이 폭력을 밀어낼 수 있거나
폭력이 또한 폭력을 물리칠 수 없다는 것을
너와 내가 충분히 납득할 때까지

너희들이 써 나가는 모든 현대사 위에
너희들의 편견과 간교함을 변호하는 붉은 혓바닥
당대를 평화의 시대라고 규정하는
안일함과 권태와 식곤증에, 그리고
너와 나의 엄연한 패배와 냉소 위에
또다시 희생을 강요하며 목울대를 치는
너희들의 찬사와 헌화를 거부한다

다시금 배신하고 배신받지 않을 나를 위하여
그리고 정직하게 반성하고 용서받는 너를 위하여
내 너희들의 조화와 방문을 거부한다
내 너희들의 행동과 공격을 응시한다

Im Dong-hwak (1959- ) was born in Kwangsan, Jeollanamdo. He studied Korean literature at Chonnam National University and Sogang University. His poetry collections includeBurial PoemsA Notebook of Living DaysThe Road to Woonju TempleI Felt Love for the First Time, and I Was Here a Long Time Ago.

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