The Snow Path by Chung Ho-seung

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photography by Hwang Moon-sung

Photography by Hwang Moon-sung

The Snow Path by Chung Ho-seung (1950-)

I see someone’s footsteps
that have walked
on the all white snow path.
They belong to a bird.
Good heavens.

눈길/정호승

희디흰 눈길 위로
누가 걸어간
발자국이 보인다
새의 발자욱이다
다행이다

chunghoseungphoto

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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The Blind Singing Couple by Chung Ho-seung

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photography by Hwang Moonsung

The Blind Singing Couple by Chung Ho-seung

With the snowfall, it was getting dark,
and they lost their way.
On this winter night street without even a snowman
nobody made any visit, so they sang.
There were only some others milling around
out in the world, being snowed upon.
They sang, calming the cries
of the child on the mother’s back
with a long way to go,
the snow falling in large flakes;
they sang, to love the unlovable,
to forgive the unforgivable,
waiting for the snowman.
They sang all the songs of waiting in the world.
Their songs became roads and led the people
walking in darkness, shivering in snow.
They forged a path through the snow
that made it impossible to return.
They sang the songs that love indifference,
till beauty rescues the world from drowning,
till joy visits the despairing.
With a long way to go,
snow falling in large flakes,
singing the songs awaiting the snowman,
they became snowmen on this winter night street–
they became snowmen that will not melt even when spring comes.

맹인 부부 가수정호승

눈내려 어두워서 길을 잃었네
갈 길은 멀고 길을 잃었네
눈사람도 없는 겨울밤 이 거리를
찾아오는 사람 없어 노래 부르니
눈 맞으며 세상 밖을 돌아가는 사람들뿐
등에 업은 아기의 울음소리를 달래며
갈 길은 먼데 함박눈은 내리는데
사랑할 수 없는 것을 사랑하기 위하여
용서받을 수 없는 것을 용서하기 위하여
눈사람을 기다리며 노랠 부르네
세상 모든 기다림의 노랠 부르네
눈 맞으며 어둠 속을 떨며 가는 사람들을
노래가 길이 되어 앞질러 가고
돌아올 길 없는 눈길 앞질러 가고
아름다움이 이 세상을 건질 때까지
절망에서 즐거움이 찾아올 때까지
함박눈은 내리는데 갈 길은 먼데
무관심을 사랑하는 노랠 부르며
눈사람을 기다리는 노랠 부르며
이 겨울 밤거리의 눈사람이 되었네
봄이 와도 녹지 않을 눈사람이 되었네

“서울의 예수” (민음사, 1982)

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.

Jesus of Seoul by Chung Ho-seung

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song

Painted by Kim Seon-soo

Chung Ho-seung, “Jesus of Seoul”

1

Jesus casts a fishing rod and sits by the Han River.
He makes a campfire at the riverside and dries his wet clothes.
Every day wild grass collapses, pierced by the swords of humans,
and a flower of a human that is like grass blooms and withers.
To see humans become beautiful, Jesus, who is wet with the winter rain,
is crying, leaning against the wall of the Westgate detention center.

2

In the drunken evening, Jesus’ long shadow is moving beyond the horizon.
Over the back of Jesus, who has begged a bowl of cold rice,
a crescent quickly rises. Was there overflowing peace in suffering,
longed-for freedom in tears? Thinking of the bread and love of Seoul,
the bread and tears of Seoul, Jesus is smoking alone.
He watches people disappear into a human dew.
At night people sleep, chewing on sand.
Leaves stay in Seoul for a moment in order to leave,
and Jesus is walking toward the end of despair.

3

Thirsty. I feel thirsty because people’s dreams are gone before Seoul sleeps.
Where is someone walking, holding a lamp?
I can’t see the pathways of Seoul, and you collapse
on the heap of ashes every night and cry, tearing down the cloak.
At the sound of a gunshot, snow falls,
and into the depth of love and faith the first snow falls.
I find no place to throw a stone I grabbed in Seoul.
My beloved, I miss you again.  Lift your cup with me.
Nowhere in Seoul’s night sky where snow is falling
can I rest my head for a moment, so please lift your cup with me.
You whose chest has collapsed at knife point,
carrying a glass, walking into darkness,
escaping from the knife point of this world,
walk Seoul’s snow-covered path till snow stops falling.
The lamps of the evil have not been extinguished yet,
and the silent ears of a human who strains to hear
the dawn of Seoul has been wet by grass blades. I am thirsty.
Ah, I am thirsty because the dreams of Seoul are gone before people sleep.

4

I want to drink a human cup.
I want to meet a person of beautiful memories
and exchange Soju cups and share mung-bean pancakes made of tears.
I want to hear a human’s dress brush grass blades on a spring day
when a petal falls like a knife,
and want to live in the country of people rather than the country of hearts.
I want to kindle alone the lamp of Seoul
so that human lamps will not go out on at dawn;
I yearn for the longing of Seoul,
leaning against a poor person’s window.

5

Those who worship me are sorrowful,
and those who feel sad for me are sorrowful.
Those who are joyful for me are sorrowful,
and those who mourn for me are more sorrowful.
I have not suffered for my neighbors,
and I have not looked up at the stars of the poor.
Those who call on my name with all their hearts are unfortunate,
and those who love my name with all their hearts are more unfortunate.

서울의 예수/ 정호승

1

예수가 낚싯대를 드리우고 한강에 앉아 있다. 강변에 모닥불을 피워 놓고 예수가 젖은 옷을 말리고 있다. 들풀들이 날마다 인간의 칼에 찔려 쓰러지고 풀의 꽃과 같은 인간의 꽃 한 송이 피었다 지는데, 인간이 아름다워지는 것을 보기 위하여,예수가 겨울비에 젖으며 서대문 구치소 담벼락에 기대어 울고 있다.

2

술 취한 저녁. 지평선 너머로 예수의 긴 그림자가 넘어간다. 인생의 찬밥 한 그릇 얻어먹은 예수의 등 뒤로 재빨리 초승달 하나 떠오른다. 고통 속에 넘치는 평화, 눈물 속에 그리운 자유는 있었을까. 서울의 빵과 사랑과 서울의 빵과 눈물을 생각하며 예수가 홀로 담배를 피운다. 사람의 이슬로 사라지는 사람을 보며, 사람들이 모래를 씹으며 잠드는 밤. 낙엽들은 떠나기 위하여 서울에 잠시 머물고,예수는 절망의 끝으로 걸어간다.

3

목이 마르다.서울이 잠들기 전에 인간의 꿈이 먼저 잠들어 목이 마르다. 등불을 들고 걷는 자는 어디 있느냐. 서울의 들길은 보이지 않고,밤마다 잿더미에 주저앉아서 겉옷만 찢으며 우는 자여.총소리가 들리고 눈이 내리더니, 사랑과 믿음의 깊이 사이로 첫눈이 내리더니,서울에서 잡힌 돌 하나,그 어디 던질 데가 없도다. 그리운 사람 다시 그리운 그대들은 나와 함께 술잔을 들라.눈내리는 서울의 밤하늘 어디에도 내 잠시 머리 둘 곳이 없나니, 그대들은 나와 함께 술잔을 들라.술잔을 들고 어둠 속으로 이 세상 칼끝을 피해 가다가,가슴으로 칼끝에 쓰러진 그대들은 눈 그친 서울밤의 눈길을 걸어가라.아직 악인의 등불은 꺼지지 않고,서울의 새벽에 귀를 기울이는 고요한 인간의 귀는 풀잎에 젖어, 목이 마르다. 인간이 잠들기 전에 서울의 꿈이 먼저 잠이 들어 아, 목이 마르다.

4

사람의 잔을 마시고 싶다.추억이 아름다운 사람을 만나,소주잔을 나누며 눈물의 빈대떡을 나눠 먹고 싶다.꽃잎 하나 칼처럼 떨어지는 봄날에 풀잎을 스치는 사람의 옷자락 소리를 들으며,마음의 나라보다 사람의 나라에 살고 싶다.새벽마다 사람의 등불이 꺼지지 않도록 서울의 등잔에 홀로 불을 켜고, 가난한 사람의 창에 기대어 서울의 그리움을 그리워하고 싶다.

5

나를 섬기는 자는 슬프고,나를 슬퍼하는 자는 슬프다.나를 위하여 기뻐하는 자는 슬프고,나를 위하여 슬퍼하는 자는 더욱 슬프다.나는 내 이웃을 위하여 괴로워하지 않았고,가난한 자의 별들을 바라보지 않았나니,내 이름을 간절히 부르는 자들은 불행하고, 내 이름을 간절히 사랑하는 자들은 더욱 불행하다.

(Darcy Brandel and Melanie Steyn 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.

The Stars are Warm by Chung Ho-seung

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song

Olympic National Park, Washington, Photo by Joon Park, ©2011 TalentShare

The Stars are Warm by Chung Ho-seung

The sky has eyes.
I don’t have to be afraid.
When in dark, dark winter
I walk on the snow-covered barley field
and meet the night without dawn,
the stars rising above the sky of my poverty
are warm.

To me
time for truth is already late;
what I once called Forgiveness
was all lies.
But, when I walk on the street of dawn the North wind has passed
and meet the night without dawn,
the stars rising above the sky of my death
are warm.

별들은 따뜻하다 / 정호승

하늘에는 눈이 있다
두려워할 것은 없다
캄캄한 겨울
눈 내린 보리밭길을 걸어가다가
새벽이 지나지 않고 밤이 올 때
내 가난의 하늘 위로 떠오른
별들은 따뜻하다

나에게
진리의 때는 이미 늦었으나
내가 용서라고 부르던 것들은
모든 거짓이었으나
북풍이 지나간 새벽거리를 걸으며
새벽이 지나지 않고 또 밤이 올 때
내 죽음의 하늘 위로 떠오른
별들은 따뜻하다

(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.

To the Poor Person by Chung Ho-seung

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song

Painted by Kim Seon-soo

To the Poor Person by Chung Ho-seung

Today again, for you
I hung a lamp outside the window.
Today again, I couldn’t wait for you any longer,
and I hung a heart outside the window.
Night has come, wind blows,
and at last snow falls.
I couldn’t wait for you any longer,
and I became a man of poor heart.
I became a man who suddenly thinks of a star
as I walk alone on the snow-covered field.

가난한 사람에게/ 정호승

내 오늘도 그대를 위해
창 밖에 등불 하나 내어 걸었습니다
내 오늘도 그대를 기다리다 못해
마음 하나 창 밖에 걸어두었습니다
밤이 오고 바람이 불고
드디어 눈이 내릴 때까지
내 그대를 기다리다 못해
가난한 마음의 사람이 되었습니다
눈 내린 들길을 홀로 걷다가
문득 별을 생각하는 사람이 되었습니다

(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.

At the Winter River by Chung Ho-seung

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song

Soyang Lake, Photo by Lee Sang-youp

At the Winter River by Chung Ho-seung

I will become a reed that doesn’t shake.
And even when the snow storm blows at the winter river bank
and even when my body falls into pieces during the storm,
I will become a reed that doesn’t shake.
The birds have flown away and not returned,
the river water has flown away and not wept–
I will become a reed that never shakes,
I will become a reed that rises again when broken down,
and will cry out if the Blue Mountain cries.

겨울 강에서/ 정호승

흔들리지 않는 갈대가 되어
겨울 강 강언덕에 눈보라 몰아쳐도
눈보라에 으스스 내 몸이 쓰러져도
흔들리지 않는 갈대가 되리
새들은 날아가 돌아오지 않고
강물은 흘러가 흐느끼지 않아도
끝끝내 흔들리지 않는 갈대가 되어
쓰러지면 일어서는 갈대가 되어
청산이 소리치면 소리쳐 울리

(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.

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.