The Long Quiet by Shin Byong-eun

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Painted by Kang Jang-won

The Long Quiet by Shin Byong-eun

I stand in front of two stone pagodas standing side by side
at Borim Temple at the foot of Gaji Mountain.
In that proximity,
they withstood the longing, unable to touch hands for a thousand years–
they even lit the translucent stone lantern.
Alongside the long silence that shines as it flies,
I put down one heart that has endured more than my life,
so I feel calm
when I take off my shoes neatly and quietly enter the hall.
The door silently opens to welcome me,
then the Buddha’s reliquary hall deepens as much as possible,
and it blooms into the silent stone flower of eternity.
The Word of silence responds to quiet praying
with a quiet smile—
you and I become silent, too.
It would be wonderful if you,
who were passionate once
and stayed for a short while before leaving,
could become a quiet, sunlit morning. 

오랜 고요

가지산 기슭의 보림사
나란한 삼층석탑 앞에 섭니다
그만큼의 거리로
천년 세월 손닿지 못한 그리움을 견디려
창 맑은 석등까지 밝혔습니다
날아가며 빛나는 오랜 고요 곁에
생애보다 더 견뎌온 마음 하나 내려놓습니다
덕분에 고요해졌습니다
신발 가지런히 벗어두고 살그머니 들어서면
말없이 문을 열어 나를 받아들입니다
그럴 때면 적멸궁은 깊어질 대로 깊어져
영겁의 고요로운 석꽃을 피웁니다
묵언발원의 끝말을 이으며
소리 없이 씨익 웃는 고요의 그 말씀에
너도 나도 그렇게 고요해질 뿐입니다
한 세월이 뜨거워
잠시 머물렀다 떠난 그대도
지금쯤 햇살 고요한 아침이면 좋겠습니다

Borim Temple (Jangheung, Korea)

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