Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Darcy Brandel
The Ibis by Moon Tae-jun
Stepping in the mountain shadow on the rice paddy
the old ibis
A deep thought lingers on the old ibis’s body and passes
Like I once stared at an empty pond vacantly
Is this how loneliness lingers?
It was the evening when the mountain shadow fully wetted her ankles
Moon Tae-jun (1970-) has published four collections of poetry: Chattering Backyard (2000), Bare Foot (2004), Flatfish (2006), and Shadow’s Development (2008) as well as other essays and commentary. One of the most popular poets of the younger generation, Moon uses deceptively simple poetic language with profound lyricism, commenting on the struggle of daily life. Grounded in Buddhist philosophy, his poems speak with reverence for all forms of life and emphasize the necessity of emptying oneself. Moon is a recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Dongseo Literature Award (2004), the Midang Literature Award (2005), and the Sowol Poetry Award (2007).