Prologue by Lee Si-young

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photography by Kim Kyung-sang


Prologue by Lee Si-young

Come quickly, the face I miss,
the one who left to set foot over the mountain, across the water.
Even when the bamboo leaves rustle, the faces await you–
they burn their sad eyes, opening the paper screen.
Before this night ends, come, shaking the ground,
and let us hasten to listen to Mother’s long story.


어서 오라 그리운 얼굴
산 넘고 물 건너 발 디디러 간 사람아
댓잎만 살랑여도 너 기다리는 얼굴들
봉창 열고 슬픈 눈동자를 태우는데
이 밤이 새기 전에 땅을 울리며 오라
어서 어머님의 긴 이야기를 듣자


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 has published poetry collections such as The Full Moon (1976), Into the Wind (1986), Friend, the Road Is Far (1988), The Song Dangling with Dew (1991), The Pattern (1994), The Gap (1996), The Quiet Blue Sky (1997), The Silver Whistle (2003), The Sea Lake (2004), The Aroma of Cow Dung(2005), and For Our Dead (2007). He has received many prestigious literary awards, including The Jung Ji-yong Literary Award (1996), The Dongseo Literary Award (1998), Modern Buddhist Literary Award (2004), The Jihoon Award (2004) and The Baeksok Literary Award (2004). For the last forty years, he has strived to write “poetry, resisting the reality and contradictions of the day.” He currently teaches creative writing at Dankuk University in Seoul.

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