At a River Village at Dusk by Moon Tae-jun

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Darcy Brandel

Photographed by Chae-Pyong Song (Suncheon Bay, Korea)

At a River Village at Dusk by Moon Tae-jun

Even in my insensitivity I come to think of you sometimes
Sorrow moves like a mountain shadow across your eyes

A bird cries like an echo in a glazed pot but the river, a bigger pot, contains her

In the distance between you and me
between the darkness of this place and that of the village beyond
the river like a big round wheel flows

A cow cries at the village across the river
I cannot help the cow whose cries dampen the cold river with drizzle
Perhaps she just lost her baby or her love
I cannot help the cow who cries till her voice gets hoarse
I cannot forget the crying cow’s white round eyes

Even in my insensitivity I come to think of you sometimes

(Originally published in Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature and Culture, Volume 4 [2011])

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).

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