Winter. Snow. Tree. Forest by Ki Hyung-do

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photography by L. J. Sladek

Winter. Snow. Tree. Forest by Ki Hyung-do (1960-1989)

The snow
piles up here and there,
without being able to get all the way out of the forest.

“Is it you?
Don’t hurry.”
Thump. He falls down,
hit by a sharp blade.

I return home,
dragging the tree.
As I trim off the twigs,
I listen to the silence of the tree:
“I am here.
Death is unmasked life.
Our lives, our winters are like that, too.”

We kindle fire
toward the pain
that resembles ourselves.
The night in the forest beyond the window
tosses its body for a deeper quiet.

Till I confirm my clean death
I will be absent,
keeping a beautiful distance from whoever sparks a flame,
and warming my heart little by little.

The morning rising in the late winter
is what comes to make the most perfect nature.
against the direction the snow melts and flows
our spring will come.


숲을 다 빠져나가지 못하고
여기 저기 쌓여 있다.

서둘지 말아.”
쿵, 그가 쓰러진다.
날카로운 날(刀)을 받으며.

나는 나무를 끌고
집으로 돌아온다.
홀로 잔가지를 치며
나무의 沈默을 듣는다.
“나는 여기 있다.
假面을 벗은 삶인 것.
우리도, 우리의 겨울도 그와 같은 것.”

서로 닮은 아픔을 向하여
불을 지피었다.
窓너머 숲 속의 밤은
더욱 깊은 고요를 위하여 몸을 뒤채인다.

내 淸潔한 죽음을 確認할 때까지
나는 不在할 것이다
타오르는 그와 아름다운 距離를 두고
그래, 心臟을 조금씩 덥혀가면서.

늦겨울 태어나는 아침은
가장 完璧한 自然을 만들기 위하여 오는 것.
그 後에
눈 녹아 흐르는 방향을 거슬러
우리의 봄은 다가오고 있는 것이다.

The Winter Tree’s Shadow by Choi Don-sun

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid


Photography by Park Chang-soo

The Winter Tree’s Shadow by Choi Don-sun (1947- )

someone still appears to stay.
The site where the wind has driven away the sun,
the site where only the blackishly tanned scars of the sun remain,
the long-necked people, tired of waiting,
appear to sit around and quietly murmur,
for they still have something to talk about.
The longing of the leaves, which have been long forgotten,
appear to rustle there,
lying on the earth
like burnt capillaries.

겨울나무 그림자/최돈선

누가 아직도 남아있을 것만 같다
바람이 햇빛을 몰고 간 자리
햇빛의 상처만 거뭇거뭇 그을어 남은 자리
아직도 이야기할 무엇이 있기에
기다림에 지친, 목이 긴 사람들의 얼굴이 돌아앉아
조용조용 웅얼거리고 있을 것만 같다
타버린 실핏줄처럼
땅 위에 누운 채
왠지 거기 오래도록 잊혀진
나뭇잎의 그리움들이 흔들리고 있을 것만 같다

The Winter Tree by Lee Jae-mu

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Painted by Heo Hae-jung

The Winter Tree by Lee Jae-mu

When leaves were thick,
I couldn’t see clearly.
Even the sky was covered
and the area around my feet was dark.
The leaves fell when the frost descended.
With stems and branches only, I have endured
a time punctured with holes all over,
and have been stricken by wind.
Now I can see an old friend in the far off distance
and my good neighbor coming closer.
The winter tree is lonely and thus, strong.


이파리 무성할 때는
서로가 잘 뵈지 않더니
하늘조차 스스로 가려
발밑 어둡더니
서리 내려 잎 지고
바람 매 맞으며
숭숭 구멍 뚫린 한 세월
줄기와 가지로만 견뎌보자니
보이는구나, 저만큼 멀어진 친구
이만큼 가까워진 이웃
외로워서 단단한 겨울나무

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

Trees Standing on the Edge by Jung Kut-byol

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Painted by Kang Jang-won

Trees Standing on the Edge by Jung Kut-byol

I once saw nameless trees
twining their bodies around the barbed wire, growing,
allowing the chains to penetrate their bodies, growing,
embracing the shrapnel driven into their bodies, growing,
absorbing into their bodies railings or fences, growing.

It’s as if they embraced
what restrains them,
without strength to extract these restrictions;
it’s as if they drew in
what impedes them,
without any way to gain their footing,
even though it could cause burning scars.

So, in this twenty-first century,
let us not love too intensely.

끝에 선 나무들/ 정끝별

철조망과 제 몸을 섞어가며 자라는
체인을 제 몸에 밀어넣고 자라는
제 몸에 박힌 수류탄 껍질을 품고 자라는
난간이나 울타리를 제 몸에 삼킨 채 자라는
이름 모를 나무들을 본 적 있다

조여오는 것들,
밀어내는 힘이 없을 때
품어안았던 것도 같다
가로막는 것들,
뛰어넘을 수 있는 발판이 없을 때
차라리 빨아들였던 것도 같다
뜨거운 흉터가 될 줄 알면서도

그러니 21세기여
우리 너무 깊이 사랑하지 말자

Painted by Kang Jang-won

Jung Kut-byol (1964-) was born in Naju, Jeollanam-do. She is a professor of Korean literature at Myungji University in Seoul.  Working as both a poet and a critic, she has published four poetry collections: My Life: a Birch Tree (1996), A White Book (2000), An Old Man’s Vitality (2005) and Suddenly (2008), along with two collections of critical essays: The Poetics of Parody (1997) and The Language of Poetry Has a Thousand Tongues (2008).  She has also edited an anthology entitled In Anyone’s Heart, Wouldn’t a Poem Bloom?: 100 Favorite Poems Recommended by 100 Korean Poets (2008).

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