3 Poems by Do Jong-hwan  도종환

Translated by Brother Anthony

Born in 1954 in Chung-ju, Do Jong-hwan was a high school teacher before he became a poet. He made his literary debut with the publication of his poems in The Age of Division in 1984. He has authored many poetry collections, including In Godumi Village (Godumi Ma-eul-eseo, 1985), You, My Hollyhock (Jeobsikkor Dangsin, 1986), You Whom I love (Naega Saranghaneun Dangsin-eun, 1988), Who Are You (Dangsin-eun Nugusimnikka, 1993), A Flower Falls in the Village of People (Saram-ui Ma-eul-e Kkor-i Jinda, 1994), Soft Straght Line (Budeureoum Jikseon, 1998), The Root of Sorrow (Seulpeum-ui Ppuri. 2002), The Road to Haein (Haeineuro ganeun gil, 2006), etc.. He is a Democratic United Party member of the Korean National Assembly.




어쩔 없는 벽 이라고 우리가느낄


담쟁이는 말 없이 벽 을 오른다

방울 없 고 씨앗 살 아남을 없는

저것은 절 망의 벽이라고 말 할

담쟁이는 서 두르지 않고앞으로 나아간다

뼘 이라도 여럿이 함께손을 잡고올라간다

푸르게 절 망을 덮 을 때까지

바로 절망을 잡 고 놓지 않 는다

저것은 넘 을 없 는 벽이라고 고 개를 떨구고 있 을

담쟁이 하나는 담 쟁이 수 천 개를 이 끌고

결국 벽을 넘 는다.



At times when we feel that

it is a wall, just a wall,


without a word ivy goes climbing up the wall.

At times when we say that

it is a wall of despair

with no drop of water, where not one seed can survive,

unhurrying, the ivy advances.

Hand in hand, several together, it climbs on, a span’s breadth at least.

Until the despair is all covered in green

it grasps the despair and will not let go.

At times when we lower our heads, saying that

the wall cannot be climbed,

one ivy leaf at the head of thousands of ivy leaves

finally climbs the wall.


다 섯 사 이


산벚나무 한쪽이 고 추잠자리보다 빨갛게 물들고있다 지금우주의 계절은가을을 지나가고있고, 인생의 시간은오후 세시에서다섯시 사이에 있다 생의열두시에서 한시사이는 치열하였으나 뒤편은벌레 먹은자국이 많았다


 이미나는 중심의시간에서 멀어져있지만 어두워지기전까지 아직몇시간이 남아있다는 것이고맙고, 해가 저물기 구름을물들이는 찬란한노을과 황혼을한번은 허락하시리라는생각만으로도 기쁘다


 머지않아겨울이 것이다 그때는지구 북쪽끝의 얼음이녹아 가까운바닷가 마을까지얼음조각을 흘려보내는날이 오리라한다 그때도숲은 저문 육신과그림자를 내치지않을 것을믿는다 지난봄과여름 내가굴참나무와 다람쥐와아이들과 제비꽃을얼마나 좋아하였는지, 그 것들을 지키기위해 보낸시간이 얼마나험했는지 꽃과나무들이 알고있으므로 대지가고요한 손을들어 증거해줄것이다


 아직도내게는 몇시간이남아 있다

 지금은세시에서 다섯시사이

     Between Three and Five o'clock


One leaf of a wild cherry tree is redder in hue than a red dragonfly. Now the cosmic season is passing through autumn and my human lifetime has reached a point between three and five in the afternoon. Between twelve and one o'clock my life was intense but the period since then has shown many signs of being moth-eaten.


Now I am moving ever further from the midpoint of time but I am grateful that there still remain several hours before darkness falls, and I rejoice at the mere thought that you will grant me once a brilliant sunset and twilight with the sun coloring the clouds before it sets.


Soon winter will be here. They say a day will come when the ice at the globe’s far north will melt and fragments of ice will be borne all the way to nearby seaside villages. Even then, I believe, the forest will not abandon my benighted body and shadow. Since the flowers and trees all know how much I enjoyed the oaks, squirrels, children, and violets last spring and summer, and what a hard time I had protecting them, the earth will raise a quiet hand in silent witness.


I still have a few hours left.

Now I am between three and five o'clock.



당신이 물 결이었을 나는 언덕이라했다.

당신이 뭍 으로 부는 따 스한 바람이고자 했 을

나는 까 마득히 멈추어 벼랑이라했다

어느 숨죽인 물 살로 다가와

말없는 바 위를 몰래몰래 건 드려보기도 하다가

다만 용 서하면서 되돌아갔었노라했다

언덕뿐인 뒷 모습을 바라보며당신은 살았다했다

당신의 가 슴앓이가 파리하게살갗에 배나올때까지도

나는 깊 어가는 당신의병을 눈치채지못하였고

어느 당신이 견 딜 없 는 파도를 토 해 등 을 때리고

한없이 쓰 러지며 밀려가는썰물이 되었을

놀란 얼 굴로 내가 뒤 돌아보았을

당신은 영 영 돌아오지 못 할 거리로 떠 내려가 있었다

한 번의 파 도로 나는 걷 잡을 없 이 무너져

당신을 따 라가다 따라가다

그만 갯벌이 되 어 눕고 말 았다

쓸쓸한 바다에도 다 시 겨울이 오 고 물살이 치 고

돌아오지 못 한 멈 추어 나 를

세월은 오 래도록 가두어놓고 있었다.

      An Island


When you were waves, you said, I was a hill.

When you decided to become a warm wind blowing shoreward,

you said, I was a cliff standing motionless far away.

Once, you said, you drew near as a current, holding your breath,

secretly touched the wordless rock

then withdrew again doing nothing but forgive.

You said you had lived gazing at my back, that was nothing but a hill.

Even when your heartache emerged wanly in your skin

I failed to notice your growing sickness

until one day you disgorged an irresistible wave,

struck my back, and withdrew, collapsing utterly to become an ebb tide,

and when I looked back startled,

you were surging away for ever down a path of no return.

With that one huge wave I collapsed uncontrollably,

went following after you, following after you,

until at last I lay there, a deserted mud flat.

Winter comes again to this mournful sea, waves ever breaking,

time has imprisoned me for long ages to come

as I stand here immobile, unable to return.