Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cold weather & Seoul Shijo.

With the weather at times turning cold (-1C a few nights ago!) I've decided to post an old poem of mine. A haiku, in the English, with Korean translation by me.

Early autumn green
wind whispering other colors in cold
trees lean nearer to listen.

이린 카을 녹
바람 다른 색으로 차갑에 속삭인다
나무들이 기대어 그 소리를 듣는다.
-- Matthew Thivierge.

I'll get my wife to check my spelling later. My spelling is usually terrible.
I do love the word 속삭인다: to whisper. Its a word you _can_ whisper more smoothly than 'whisper'.

Heres a Shijo from a poet who wrote mostly in the 60s. Sadly the book I'm taking him from doesn't have the original Korean. Still, its a great read. As the poems in the book have translated so well, I'm dying to get my hands on the original Korean for them! Suffice: here's one by Seo-Pol. I'm sure many visiting Seoul or foreigners living there can relate to this one:

Today I've come up to Seoul
and purchased a thousand acres of loneliness.
I wish to scatter it like mist;
sprinkle it like drizzling rain.
Penniless are my pockets, but I have a friend's
name card in its place.
-- So Pol (b. 1939).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Similar to a Japanese Haiku is the Korean Shijo poetry. Here's a sample Shijo below. More details on Shijo form later.

십 년을 경영하여 초려삼간 지어내니
나 한 간 달 한 간에 청풍 한 간 맡겨두고
강산은 들일 데 없으니 둘러두고 보리라.
-- 미상

I worked for ten years, and built at last a thatched cottage.
A room for myself, a room for the moon, and a room for the wind,
And no room for the hills and brooks; I'll view them standing around me.
-- Anonymous.
Translated by Kim Young Nahg.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Deepest Sea

The Deepest Sea

we drift
like sand upon sea
then, into the deep
we dive,
with the elements of our day
and dream.

This East Sea
is the Pacific
later the Atlantic
reaches all continents.

This East Sea
is rain
falling on mountains
drunken by millions of mothers
swishing around babies
that are being formed.

Our dreams, you see
in that sea
always being formed.

The sea connects us all
forms us
carries us
as when we die

we become all undone as dust
washed by rain
we drift
to become like sand upon sea
into the deep
we further die
to swim with the elements of our days
and dream
in the deepest sea.

-- presented Aug 4 2009 2:10pm Busan Sea/Marine Literature Festival
Written a week before in a taxi coming to LG Metrocity from Busan Immigration.