The Pine Tree by Chung Ho-seung

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song

Painted by Song Seung-ho

The Pine Tree by Chung Ho-seung

The young pine trees,
their roots all wrapped in plastic,
are leaving for somewhere
in a truck.

When the spring rain stops,
some will live, planting their roots,
and others will die
somewhere.

When the pine tree dies
there is nothing to throw away,
but when a human dies
there is much to throw away.

소나무/ 정호승

비닐로 뿌리를 친친 동여맨
어린 소나무들이
트럭에 실려
어디론가 떠나간다

봄비 그치면
더러는 뿌리내려 살기도 하고
더러는 어디에서
죽기도 할 것이다

소나무는 죽으면
버릴 게 없으나
사람은 죽으면
버릴 게 너무 많다

(Darcy Brandel and Anne Rashid read the earlier versions of this translation.)

Chung Ho-seung was born in 1950, in Hadong, Gyongsangnam-do. Since his debut in 1972 with a poem featured in the Korea Daily News, Chung has published many poetry collections, such asFrom Sorrow to HappinessJesus of Seoul, and Dawn Letter, which has achieved both critical acclaim and mass appeal. His minimal verse style interweaves the everday and the fantastic, proposing the possibility of lyrical revelation in even the most prosaic encounters.

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