The Snowy Night by Moon Tae-jun

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid


Photography by Anne Rashid

The Snowy Night by Moon Tae-jun

Oh, my lover
who had pure eyes;
oh, the silver scales
that occupied your eyes.
Tonight snow falls.
Oh, my poor lover
who wrapped my neck
with a white towel and washed my face,
a sacred quiet descends
upon the lonely planet.
I close my eyes
to remember the time
your hands washed my face.

눈 내리는 밤/ 문태준

말간 눈을 한
동공에 살던 은빛 비늘이여
오늘은 눈이 내린다
목에 하얀 수건을 둘러놓고 얼굴을 씻겨주던
가난한 애인이여,
외로운 천체에
성스러운 고요가 내린다
나는 눈을 감는다
손길이 나의 얼굴을 다 씻겨주는 시간을

moontaejunphotoMoon Tae-jun (1970-) has published four collections of poetry:Chattering Backyard (2000), Bare Foot (2004), Flatfish (2006), and Shadow’s Development (2008) as well as other essays and commentary. One of the most popular poets of the younger generation, Moon uses deceptively simple poetic language with profound lyricism, commenting on the struggle of daily life. Grounded in Buddhist philosophy, his poems speak with reverence for all forms of life and emphasize the necessity of emptying oneself. Moon is a recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Dongseo Literature Award (2004),  the Midang Literature Award (2005), and the Sowol Poetry Award (2007).

4 thoughts on “The Snowy Night by Moon Tae-jun

  1. Hello,
    You should tag all of your translations “Korean poetry” so people looking for Korean poetry can find your blog.^^ I only found your blog by chance linked off a Korean news site. You can erase this comment after you receive my message as it is not relevant to the Moon Tae-Jun poem above. ^^

  2. I am wondering about the poetic license the translator takes:
    1) 말간 눈을 한 애인이여 is it really equivalent to “Oh, my lover who had pure eyes”?
    2) 오늘은 눈이 내린다 if translated as “Tonight snow falls” makes it more gloomy than intended!

    I love this page. However, I just thought I would share my thoughts. Not intended to criticize.

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