Poems by Ynhui Park


        Translated by Brother Anthony of Taizé



The Poet


Born in Korea in 1930, Ynhui Park (Pak In-Hŭi) spent many years studying and teaching abroad. After receiving a doctorate in French literature from the Sorbonne, in Paris, in 1964, he went on to take a second doctorate, in philosophy, at the University of Southern California (USA) in 1970. From 1968 he taught in Boston, until his retirement in 1993. Then he returned to Korea and for several years taught philosophy at Pohang University of Science and Technology. From 2002 he taught philosophy as a Distinguished Professor in Yonsei University, Seoul, for some years. He publishes in English as Ynhui Park, that being his original given name, but his writings in Korean are publishesd using the pen name Park Yeemun (Pak I-Mun).

He continues to publish widely, mainly in Korean now, but he has published several books and papers on philosophical topics in both French and English. He has published a number of volumes of poetry in Korean: the translated titles are Snow on the Charles River (1979), Dream of a Butterfly (1981), Shadows of Things Unseen (1987), Echoes of the Void (1989) and Morning Stroll (2006). This last earned him the 2006 Incheon Award. In 1999 he published a volume of poems written in English, Broken Words, which was translated into German and published as Verbrochene Wörter in 2004. Another volume of Germans translations, Schatten der Leere, was published in 2009. The poems translated here were published in Korea as a volume of selected poems in 2006.





Poetic Words




like barbed wire

poetic words

inflict nothing but pain

while on the meanings

scratched, pierced

blood pools thick


Alienated beings in agony

poetic words

pierced when language is read

and the truth grasped

breaking when cut

seek the meaning beyond meaning

that is no meaning



A Lonely House Dreaming


Dense woodland

revealing a stone wall

a valley revealing a lake

an isolated house

a wood-built New England house


I want to live alone

I want to think alone

I want to be absorbed

in really deep contemplation

Like a lonely house


With birds and

roe deer

and insects

and alone

I want to exist thoroughly



Star Debris


Night sky

Meanings torn to shreds

thoughts scattering in every direction

words dispersed

destroy the order of the night sky

glittering like broken bits of bone

Strewn like debris

the stars’ stories

echo in the void


Insects keep breeding

animals keep copulating

people keep dying

they’ll keep being born and increasing, too

On the Earth that goes

floating off through endless space-time

philosophers keep thinking, cogitating,

others keep suffering and writing poems

meaningless thoughts

meaningless words


The meaning of meaning, light of being

in the night sky above the dark abyss of being

like stars’ debris the light of meaning glitters

Night sky of being.



Writing Poems Without Meaning


Sham-seeming life

gauze-mask-like thoughts

is there no removing the mask from consciouness?


Disposing words without meaning

Writing poems without meaning

Writing poems like scraps of debris

scraps of shattering consciousness



The Order of the Stars





their order

identically beautiful


the infinite disorder

of meanings and senses


with the disorder of existence and

human solitude and clamor and


the endles void

meaning’s abundant disorder