Analogue by Shin Dal-ja

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Analogue by Shin Dal-ja

A door of the latest brand
opens smoothly with a password.
Even this is not urbane enough.
The top of the line door that opens immediately,
saying yes, yes if only you put your fingerprints upon it gently.
Even this is not easy enough.
Now the door opens as if greeting an emperor
even when it detects the voice saying, “it’s me.”
That’s right.
It’s a matter of time before the door clanks open
the moment it smells the owner
standing in front of the door.

But I like the mundane things—
when you press the bell with a tired hand,
the door that rushes to you and greets you with a smile
and a human voice and human hands;
and, if I can’t have that,
the lovely twig gate of my maternal grandparents’ house
that stands only up to my knees, open day and night.


비밀번호를 누르면 스르르 문이 열리는
최신식 문
그것도 촌스럽다며 지문만 슬쩍 대면 네 네 네 하며
자르르 열리는 최고급 문
그것도 번거롭다며 “나야” 목소리만 감지해도
이제는 제왕처럼 문이 열린다
그렇지 이제는 문 앞에 주인이 서면
냄새를 훅 하고 맡는 순간에 철커덕 문이 열리는
날이 바로 내일이지

그러나 나는 우둔한 것이 좋다
피로에 지친 손으로 벨을 누르면
얼른 달려와 미소로 열어 주는
사람의 목소리와 사람의 손으로 반기는 따뜻한 문
그것도 아니라면
아예 정강이 밑까지만 가린, 밤낮 열어 두는
외갓집 정 깊은 사립문이거나.

(Originally published in Gwangju News, July 2012)

Shin Dal-ja (1943- ) was born in Geochang, Gyeongsangnam-do. She studied Korean literature at Sookmyung Women’s University. She taught creative writing at Pyongtaek University and Myungji College. Her poetry collections include Father’s Light, Passionate Love, The Long Talking Relationship, and Paper.  She also has written several collections of essays including The Poet’s Love, You Remember These Three Things, and At Forty,  I Learned the Baby-Steps of Life. Her literary awards include The Korea Literature Award, the Modern Buddhist Literature Award, and Youngrang Poetry Award.

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