Tears by Kim Hyun-seung

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photography by Hye Hyon

Tears by Kim Hyun-seung

I wish to be a small seed
falling to the fertile ground.

These are all I have–
flawless, spotless,

When I am asked to offer
what is most precious,
these are the only ones I have left!

You saw the flowers of a beautiful tree withering
and made it bear fruit,

and, after giving me laughter,
you have renewed my tears.


옥토(沃土)에 떨어지는 작은 생명이고저.

흠도 티도,
금가지 않은
나의 전체는 오직 이뿐!

더욱 값진 것으로
드리라 하올 제,
나의 가장 나아종 지니인 것도 오직 이뿐!

아름다운 나무의 꽃이 시듦을 보시고
열매를 맺게 하신 당신은,

나의 웃음을 만드신 후에
새로이 나의 눈물을 지어 주시다.

시집 ≪김현승 시초≫ (1957)

Kim Hyun-seung (1913-1975) was born and raised in Gwangju. He is known for sublimating his Christian imagination into poetry as in “The Prayer of Autumn.” He is also known for founding a literary journal, New Literature, in 1951. In the 1950s, he taught creative writing at Chosun University and mentored many great poets known around the country.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s