Conversing while Swinging by Seo Jung-ju

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Chunhyang’s Words: Part One,
Conversing while Swinging by Seo Jung-ju

Hyangdan, push the swing
toward the faraway sea
like you are pushing out a boat,
Hyangdan

Away from this gently swaying weeping willow
and a patch of wildflowers
that seem to be embroidered on my pillow cover,
away from these small butterflies and nightingales,
like you are pushing away forever,
Hyangdan

Push me up
toward that sky where there is no coral or isle.
Push me up like the colorful clouds.
Push up my heaving heart!
No matter what I do, I cannot travel
to the west like the moon.

Like the wind pushes up the waves,
push me up,
Hyangdan.

추천사(鞦韆詞) – 춘향의 말 1 /서정주

향단(香丹)아, 그넷줄을 밀어라.
머언 바다로
배를 내어 밀듯이,
향단아

이 다소곳이 흔들리는 수양버들 나무와
베갯모에 뇌이듯한 풀꽃더미로부터,
자잘한 나비새끼 꾀꼬리들로부터
아조 내어 밀듯이, 향단아

산호(珊瑚)도 섬도 없는 저 하늘로
나를 밀어올려다오.
채색(彩色)한 구름같이 나를 밀어올려다오
이 울렁이는 가슴을 밀어 올려 다오!
서(西)으로 가는 달 같이는
나는 아무래도 갈 수가 없다.

바람이 파도를 밀어 올리듯이
그렇게 나를 밀어올려다오.
향단아.

<서정주 시선> (정음사, 1956)

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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