When a Branch Crosses over the Wall by Jung Kut-byol

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photography by Hye Hyon

When a Branch Crosses over the Wall by Jung Kut-byol

When a drooping willow branch crossed over the wall,
it may not have been her work alone.
If the distant root—whose face she hadn’t seen even once,
and the flowers and leaves–who had put their flesh together and washed their hands of each other,
hadn’t supported her as one body,
the branch would have just shivered forever alone.

Without the persistent rain that had fallen for five long days,
without the unruly snow storm that had brought them closer together,
crossing over the wall
wouldn’t have been as exciting for the branch.
Without the forbidden wall
that had made the branch hesitant
and shut off the outside world,
the drooping willow branch would not have been able to dream
about going over the wall,
crossing over the wall’s body and climbing over the crown of the wall’s head.

So when a magnolia’s branch or a persimmon’s branch
or a rose vine or an ivy, any branch for that matter,
crosses over the wall,
the wall was a gamble as well as a guide to enlightenment,
pulling them out of obscurity.

가지가 담을 넘을 때/ 정끝별

이를테면 수양의 늘어진 가지가 담을 넘을 때
그건 수양 가지만의 일은 아니었을 것이다
얼굴 한 번 못 마주친 애먼 뿌리와
잠시 살 붙였다 적막히 손을 터는 꽃과 잎이
혼연일체 밀어주지 않았다면
가지 혼자서는 한없이 떨기만 했을 것이다

한 닷새 내리고 내리던 고집 센 비가 아니었으면
밤새 정분만 쌓던 도리없는 폭설이 아니었으면
담을 넘는다는게
가지에게는 그리 신명나는 일이 아니었을 것이다
무엇보다 가지의 마음을 머뭇 세우고
담 밖을 가둬두는
저 금단의 담이 아니었으면
담의 몸을 가로지르고 담의 정수리를 타넘어
담을 열 수 있다는 걸
수양의 늘어진 가지는 꿈도 꾸지 못했을 것이다

그러니까 목련가지라든가 감나무 가지라든가
줄장미 줄기라든가 담쟁이 줄기라든가
가지가 담을 넘을 때 가지에게 담은
무명에 일 획을 긋는
도박이자 도반이었을 것이다

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