At the Mangwol Cemetery by Kim Nam-ju

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

At the Mangwol Cemetery by Kim Nam-ju (1946–1994)

May lions, the stars of destructed earth,
you lie here cut into pieces
without faces, without names.
You are buried in dirt and in wind, labeled as rebels.

May heroes
who went against domination and injustice
for the freedom of the world where people live,
for the beauty of the world where people live,
and who rose up trembling in indignation,
you have never gone to the world of death.
You have never gone to the other world of oblivion.
The wide open hearts of May still withstand bullets,
the lifted fighting fists still resist injustice.
Innumerable unyielding lives are born
out of your collapsed bodies.
They are born again,
wet their lips in the river of blood you shed,
and sing the song that you couldn’t finish.
They are born anew,
wet their arms and feet in the stream of tears you shed,
and walk the road that you couldn’t walk entirely,
clenching their fists.
For the freedom of the world where people live,
for the beauty of the world where people live,
your sons and daughters now
are willing to risk even their lives.
Like you, they are marching forward
armed with love and hatred of revenge.

May heroes, the stars of the destructed earth,
the dawn buried in darkness is breaking
and the day of victory approaches,
so rise up and receive the glory of victory.

망월동에 와서/ 김남주

파괴된 대지의 별 오월의 사자들이여
능지처참으로 당신들은 누워 있읍니다
얼굴도 없이 이름도 없이
누명쓴 폭도로 흙속에 바람속에 묻혀 있습니다

사람 사는 세상의 자유를 위하여
사람 사는 세상의 아름다움을 위하여
압제와 불의에 거역하고
치떨림의 분노로 일어섰던 오월의 영웅들이여
당신들은 결코 죽음의 세계로 간 것이 아닙니다
당신들은 결코 망각의 저승으로 간 것이 아닙니다
풀어헤친 오월의 가슴팍은 아직도 총알에 맞서고 있나니
치켜든 싸움의 주먹은 아직도 불의에 항거하고 있나니
쓰러진 당신들의 육체로부터 수없이 많은
수없이 많은 불굴의 생명이 태어나고 있습니다
그들은 다시 태어나
당신들이 흘린 피의 강물에 입술을 적시고
당신들이 미처 다 부르지 못한 노래를 부르고 있습니다
그들이 새로 태어나
당신들이 흘린 눈물의 여울에 팔과 다리를 적시고
주먹을 불끈 쥐고
당신들이 미처 다 걷지 못한 길을 걷고 있습니다
사람 사는 세상의 자유를 위하여
사람 사는 세상의 아름다움을 위하여
이제 당신들의 자식들은 딸들은
죽음까지도 불사하고 있습니다
사랑과 원수갚음의 증오로 무장하고
그들은 당신들처럼 전진하고 있습니다

파괴된 대지의 별 오월의 영웅들이여
어둠에 묻혀 있던 새벽은 열리고
승리의 그날은 다가오고 있나니
일어나 받아다오 승리의 영예를 그때 가서는.

Kim Nam-ju (1946-1994) was born in Haenam, Jeollanam-do and studied English at Chonnam National University. He is known as one of the major resistance poets in South Korea, leading the people’s movement in the 1970s and 80s that ultimately toppled the dictatorship in Korea. Because of his activism, he was imprisoned twice, for more than ten years in total. In prison where paper and pencil were not allowed, he wrote many poems on milk cartons with the nail he made by grinding a toothbrush. These poems were later published in two collected volumes of his prison poetry, The Sunlight on the Prison Bar. His poetry bears witness to the tyranny of dictatorship and the hardships of the oppressed. He published such poetry collections as Requiem, My Sword My Blood, One Fatherland, The Weapon of Love and In This Lovely World. He received the Yun Sang-won Literary Award in 1993 and the National Literary Award in 1994. His poems have also been memorialized by Korean activist, rock singer An Chi-hwan in his album entitled Remember.

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