Blank Paper: Part One by Shin Dal-ja

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Blank Paper: Part One by Shin Dal-ja

If you want to calm anger like cast iron,
if you want to calm resentment like a rock,
jump down on the blank page.
If you want to open your spirit to the first nature
that is endless however many times you enter
and is wide open without bottoms or walls,
if you want to taste the ecstasy of all of your body becoming a blank page,
soaking slowly into the blank page,
if you want to wash up the dirt of the world
and be clear like spring water in a forest,
if you want to experience the white light, deeply cool, even without bleaching
that accepts everything and lets it go,
if you want to enter into such a path of goodness
where with the first step you step on eternity
and with the second step the past and future worlds merge into one way,
if you want to meet the spirit of the spirits
that has no weight nor smell nor conflict,
lightly jump down on a blank page.

It is such a path
where the origin leads your hand—
the origin in which there is nothing but there is everything,
where you find meaning even though you followed without a purpose,
where pure hearts stand up,
where gallant people with conviction
never get thirsty however long they journey.

백지 1/ 신달자

무쇠 같은 분노를 삭이려면
돌덩이 같은 한을 삭이려면
그곳에 들어가 보세요
들어가도 들어가도 끝이 없는
바닥도 벽도 없이 확 트인
최초의 자연에 정신을 열어보고 싶다면
백지에 스르르 스며들어서
온몸이 백지가 되는 황홀을 맛보고 싶다면
세상의 먼지를 깨끗하게 씻어
산속 샘물같이 맑아지고 싶다면
표백은 없었지만 시리게 깊은 흰빛
다 받아들이고 다 쏟아내는
첫 발자국에 영원이 밟히고
두 발자국에 과거와 내세가 하나의 길로 열리는
그런 선한 길로 접어들고 싶다면
무게도 냄새도 충돌도 없는
정신의 정신을 만나고 싶다면
훌쩍 백지 위로 뛰어내려 보세요

아무것도 없지만 뭐든 있는
그런 근원의 출발이 손을 이끄는
무작정 따라가도 마음 잡히는
청정한 마음이 기립해 서 있는
소신 밝아 늠름한
가도 가도 목이 마르지 않는 그런 길

(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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