One Bean by Kim Jun-tae

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

One Bean by Kim Jun-tae

Who spilled it?

Did it come out of
the parcel with a hole
the wrinkled country-side grandmother
was carrying on the way to see her youngest daughter?

One green bean
rolled around, trampled
on the asphalt
of the station plaza.

I picked up the tremulous life,
went outside the city,

and planted it deep, deep
into the farm furrow across the river.
Then, from every direction,
the evening glow was watching me.

콩알 하나/김준태

누가 흘렸을까

막내딸 찾아가는
다 쭈그러진 시골 할머니의
구멍 난 보따리에서
빠져 나왔을까

역전 광장
아스팔트 위에
밟히며 뒹구는
파아란 콩알 하나

나는 그 엄청난 생명을 집어 들어
도회지 밖으로 나가

강 건너 밭이랑에
깊숙이 깊숙이 심어 주었다
그때 사방팔방에서
저녁 노을이 나를 바라보고 있었다.

(Originally published in Gwangju News, June, 2012)

Kim Jun-tae (1949- ) was born in Haenam, Jeollanamdo. He studied German literature at Chosun University. He made his literary debut in 1969 with the publication of “Thrashing the Sesame” and other poems in The Poet. His poetry collections include Thrashing the Sesame, I Saw God, The Rice Soup and Hope, Fire or Flower?, and Sword and Soil. He is known as the progressive poet of “Oh, Gwangju! The Cross of Our Nation!,” a poem about the Gwangju Uprising he published on June 2, 1980, in The Chonnam Daily. With the publication of this poem, the newspaper was forced to shut down, and he was laid off from his teaching at Chonnam High School. This poem has been acclaimed as the first poem that addressed the uprising. He is a protest poet committed to writing about ruined hometowns, national liberation, and the decolonization of culture.

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