Chunhyang’s Last Words by Seo Jung-ju

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photography by Choi Il-ryoung


Chunhyang’s Words: Part Three,
Chunhyang’s Last Words by Seo Jung-ju

Farewell,
Young Master.

Like the thick, green tree
under whose shade we stood together
when we first met on Dano of May,*
I wish you well forever, forever.

Though I don’t know for sure
where the other world is,
however far away it is,
my love will be able to travel.

Even though I may flow as dark water thousands of feet below the earth,
or fly as high as a cloud upon the Tusita sky,
wouldn’t it still be beside you, Young Master?

Moreover, when the cloud fills with a torrential rain,
I, Chunhyang, will certainly be there.

*The fifth of May celebrates Spring in the lunar calendar.

춘향유문—춘향의 말3/ 서정주

안녕히 계세요.
도련님.

지난 오월 단옷날, 처음 만나던 날
우리 둘이서, 그늘 밑에 서있던
그 무성하고 푸르던 나무같이
늘 안녕히 안녕히 계세요.

저승이 어딘지는 똑똑히 모르지만,
춘향의 사랑보단 오히려 더 먼
딴 나라는 아마 아닐 것입니다.

천 길 땅 밑을 검은 물로 흐르거나
도솔천의 하늘을 구름으로 날더라도
그건 결국 도련님 곁 아니예요?

더구나 그 구름이 소나기가 되어 퍼부을 때
춘향은 틀림없이 거기 있을 거예요.

Seo Jeong-ju (1915 – 2000) was born in Gochang, Jeollabuk-do. He is considered the founding father of modern Korean poetry. Under the pen name Midang, he published at least 15 collections of poetry. He taught Korean literature at Chosun University, among others. He was also nominated five times for the Nobel Prize in literature. His grandmother’s stories and his interest in Buddhism had a strong influence upon his writing. His works have been translated into a number of languages, including English, French, Spanish and German.

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