Jirisan Mountain by Lee Si-young

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Jiri Mountain, Photography by Bok Hyo-geun

Jirisan Mountain by Lee Si-young

I still do not know the name of the man with the disheveled hair.
The mountain man came down stealthily like a fox when the night deepened,
and hid himself in Sister’s room.
The man approached the paper screen door
to hand over the deer-hoof flowers and gooseberries with a smile,
and, when I tried to touch his big foot,
he suddenly disappeared over the back wall.
Even when the gunshots from the Bungdemi lookout flew up
and the pine-knot fire rolled up from the search crew behind the mountain,
his black hand came without fail to hand over the kudzu roots.
Sister embraced the frightened animal who rode upon the foot of the mountain,
holding her breath in the boiling night–
it was that night when Sister packed up and escaped to the mountain.
The man was hung up on the back wall, pierced by a bamboo spear,
spilling blood and reeking a foul smell.
Father, returning from the police station, hid himself in the bamboo forest,
and even when our house was burning, Sister didn’t come back.
There was only a rumor that a full-term pregnant woman came down
to the neighboring village and, assisted by night, gave birth to a vibrant boy
and disappeared.

지리산(智異山)/ 이시영 

나는 아직 그 더벅머리 이름을 모른다
밤이 깊으면 여우처럼 몰래
누나 방으로 숨어들던 산사내
봉창으로 다가와 노루발과 다래를 건네주며
씽긋 웃던 큰 발 만질라치면
어느새 뒷담을 타고 사라지던 사내
벙뎀이 감시초에서 총알이 날고
뒷산에 수색대의 관솔불이 일렁여도
검은 손은 어김없이 찾아와 칡뿌리를 내밀었다
기슭을 타고 온 놀란 짐승을 안고
끓는 밤 숨죽이던 누나가
보따리를 싸 산으로 도망간 건 그날밤
노린내 나는 피를 흘리며 사내는
대창에 찔려 뒷담에 걸려 있었다
지서에서 돌아온 아버지가 대밭에 숨고
집이 불타도 누나는 오지 않았다
이웃 동네에 내려온 만삭의 처녀가
밤을 도와 싱싱한 사내애를 낳고 갔다는 소문이 퍼졌을 뿐

Lee Si-young (1949- ) was born in Gurye, Jeollanamdo. He studied creative writing at Seorabeol College of Arts. Since his literary debut in 1969, he has published poetry collections such as The Full Moon (1976), Into the Wind (1986), Friend, the Road Is Far (1988), The Song Dangling with Dew (1991), The Pattern (1994), The Gap (1996), The Quiet Blue Sky (1997), The Silver Whistle (2003), The Sea Lake (2004), The Aroma of Cow Dung(2005), and For Our Dead (2007). He has received many prestigious literary awards, including The Jung Ji-yong Literary Award (1996), The Dongseo Literary Award (1998), Modern Buddhist Literary Award (2004), The Jihoon Award (2004) and The Baeksok Literary Award (2004). For the last forty years, he has strived to write “poetry, resisting the reality and contradictions of the day.” He currently teaches creative writing at Dankuk University in Seoul.

 

The Old Hill by Lee Si-young

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photography by Hye Hyon

The Old Hill by Lee Si-young

In my hometown, Woosadool, persimmons may be ripening.
Coming home from school, I would climb the persimmon tree
suffering with a hungry stomach, and sing,
wishing that the autumn sunlight could ripen them,
wishing that the blue sky could ripen frost-laden persimmons.
Swinging my head between the branches,
I would sing mournful songs.
Ah, where did Giltay go?
Holding on to the tree till after the sunset,
Giltay would wipe his tears with his small fist,
gazing at his empty chimney where no smoke did rise.
Ah, where did Giltay go,
leaving behind his lame widow mother
below the persimmon tree?

옛동산/ 이시영

우리 고향 웃사둘 마을에는 감이 익겠지
학교에서 돌아오면 나무에 올라
주린 배를 참으며 노래 불렀지
가을볕 부신 햇살에 감이 익어라고
푸른 하늘 한가득 서리 묻은 감이 익어라고
가지 가지 사이로 머리통을 흔들며
노래 슬픈 노래 불렀지
아 길태는 어데 갔노
저녁이 지날 때까지 나무에 달라붙어
연기 오르지 않는 빈 굴뚝을 바라보며
작은 주먹으로 눈물 훔치던
아 길태는 어데 갔노
다리 저는 홀어머니 감나무 밑에 남겨둔 채

Lee Si-young (1949- ) was born in Gurye, Jeollanamdo. He studied creative writing at Seorabeol College of Arts. Since his literary debut in 1969, he has published poetry collections such as The Full Moon (1976), Into the Wind (1986), Friend, the Road Is Far (1988), The Song Dangling with Dew (1991), The Pattern (1994), The Gap (1996), The Quiet Blue Sky (1997), The Silver Whistle (2003), The Sea Lake (2004), The Aroma of Cow Dung(2005), and For Our Dead (2007). He has received many prestigious literary awards, including The Jung Ji-yong Literary Award (1996), The Dongseo Literary Award (1998), Modern Buddhist Literary Award (2004), The Jihoon Award (2004) and The Baeksok Literary Award (2004). For the last forty years, he has strived to write “poetry, resisting the reality and contradictions of the day.” He currently teaches creative writing at Dankuk University in Seoul.

Odong-do Island by Lee Si-young

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photography by Choi Il-ryoung

 

Odong-do Island by Lee Si-young

After this wind, camellias will bloom.
Sea and sky, freeze the wind for three or four days.

오동도/ 이시영

이 바람 지나면 동백꽃 핀다
바다여 하늘이여 한 사나흘 꽝꽝 추워라

Lee Si-young (1949- ) was born in Gurye, Jeollanamdo. He studied creative writing at Seorabeol College of Arts. Since his literary debut in 1969, he has published poetry collections such as The Full Moon (1976), Into the Wind (1986), Friend, the Road Is Far (1988), The Song Dangling with Dew (1991), The Pattern (1994), The Gap (1996), The Quiet Blue Sky (1997), The Silver Whistle (2003), The Sea Lake (2004), The Aroma of Cow Dung(2005), and For Our Dead (2007). He has received many prestigious literary awards, including The Jung Ji-yong Literary Award (1996), The Dongseo Literary Award (1998), Modern Buddhist Literary Award (2004), The Jihoon Award (2004) and The Baeksok Literary Award (2004). For the last forty years, he has strived to write “poetry, resisting the reality and contradictions of the day.” He currently teaches creative writing at Dankuk University in Seoul.

A Spring Day by Lee Si-young

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photography by Hye Hyon

A Spring Day by Lee Si-young

It was a spring day with magnolias in full bloom. Noor Fuad, 30 years old,
an illegal immigrant laborer from Indonesia, was spending rare
leisure time with his wife Leena on the third floor of the dormitory
of a factory in Incheon. It was a morning when the magnolias were in full bloom.
With loud stomping, immigration officers suddenly rushed
into the building and, without any words, started to handcuff
their wrists. He pleaded to be unshackled for a minute in order to change his clothes. And in that brief moment, Fuad jumped through a window to the rooftop of an adjacent building,
but he lost his footing and fell to the ground. It was a bright spring morning
when the magnolias were in full bloom.

봄날/ 이시영

목련이 활짝 핀 봄날이었다. 인도네시아 출신의 불법체류
노동자 누르 푸아드(30세)는 인천의 한 업체 기숙사 3층에서
모처럼 아내 리나와 함께 단란한 시간을 보내고 있었다. 목련이
활짝 핀 아침이었다. 우당탕거리는 구둣발 소리와 함께 갑자기
들이닥친 출입국관리사무소 직원들이 다짜고짜 그와 아내의 손목에
수갑을 채우기 시작했다. 겉옷을 갈아입겠다며 잠시 수갑을
풀어달라고 했다. 그리고 그 짧은 순간 푸아드는 창문을 통해
옆건물 옥상으로 뛰어내리다 그만 발을 헛디뎌 바닥으로 떨어져
숨지고 말았다. 목련이 활짝 핀 눈부신 봄날 아침이었다.

Lee Si-young (1949- ) was born in Gurye, Jeollanamdo. He studied creative writing at Seorabeol College of Arts. Since his literary debut in 1969, he has published poetry collections such as The Full Moon (1976), Into the Wind (1986), Friend, the Road Is Far (1988), The Song Dangling with Dew (1991), The Pattern (1994), The Gap (1996), The Quiet Blue Sky (1997), The Silver Whistle (2003), The Sea Lake (2004), The Aroma of Cow Dung(2005), and For Our Dead (2007). He has received many prestigious literary awards, including The Jung Ji-yong Literary Award (1996), The Dongseo Literary Award (1998), Modern Buddhist Literary Award (2004), The Jihoon Award (2004) and The Baeksok Literary Award (2004). For the last forty years, he has strived to write “poetry, resisting the reality and contradictions of the day.” He currently teaches creative writing at Dankuk University in Seoul.

Prologue by Lee Si-young

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photography by Kim Kyung-sang

 

Prologue by Lee Si-young

Come quickly, the face I miss,
the one who left to set foot over the mountain, across the water.
Even when the bamboo leaves rustle, the faces await you–
they burn their sad eyes, opening the paper screen.
Before this night ends, come, shaking the ground,
and let us hasten to listen to Mother’s long story.

서시/이시영

어서 오라 그리운 얼굴
산 넘고 물 건너 발 디디러 간 사람아
댓잎만 살랑여도 너 기다리는 얼굴들
봉창 열고 슬픈 눈동자를 태우는데
이 밤이 새기 전에 땅을 울리며 오라
어서 어머님의 긴 이야기를 듣자

<1976년>

Lee Si-young (1949- ) was born in Gurye, Jeollanamdo. He studied creative writing at Seorabeol College of Arts. Since his literary debut in 1969, he has published poetry collections such as The Full Moon (1976), Into the Wind (1986), Friend, the Road Is Far (1988), The Song Dangling with Dew (1991), The Pattern (1994), The Gap (1996), The Quiet Blue Sky (1997), The Silver Whistle (2003), The Sea Lake (2004), The Aroma of Cow Dung(2005), and For Our Dead (2007). He has received many prestigious literary awards, including The Jung Ji-yong Literary Award (1996), The Dongseo Literary Award (1998), Modern Buddhist Literary Award (2004), The Jihoon Award (2004) and The Baeksok Literary Award (2004). For the last forty years, he has strived to write “poetry, resisting the reality and contradictions of the day.” He currently teaches creative writing at Dankuk University in Seoul.

An Autumn Day by Lee Si-young

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photography by Lee Won-kyu

An Autumn Day by Lee Si-young

A dragonfly sat on the end of a persimmon branch
and dozed off all day.
Even with wind, it did not shake;
even with a cold rain smacking the branch,
it did not move over.
When I quietly approached it,
I was startled to see,
right there, it had arrived in Nirvana.

가을날/ 이시영

잠자리 한 마리가 감나무 가지 끝에 앉아
종일을 졸고 있다
바람이 불어도 흔들리지 않고
차가운 소나기가 가지를 후려쳐도
옮겨앉지 않는다
가만히 다가가보니
거기 그대로 그만 아슬히 입적하시었다

Lee Si-young (1949- ) was born in Gurye, Jeollanamdo. He studied creative writing at Seorabeol College of Arts. Since his literary debut in 1969, he has published poetry collections such as The Full Moon (1976), Into the Wind (1986), Friend, the Road Is Far (1988), The Song Dangling with Dew (1991), The Pattern (1994), The Gap (1996), The Quiet Blue Sky (1997), The Silver Whistle (2003), The Sea Lake (2004), The Aroma of Cow Dung(2005), and For Our Dead (2007). He has received many prestigious literary awards, including The Jung Ji-yong Literary Award (1996), The Dongseo Literary Award (1998), Modern Buddhist Literary Award (2004), The Jihoon Award (2004) and The Baeksok Literary Award (2004). For the last forty years, he has strived to write “poetry, resisting the reality and contradictions of the day.” He currently teaches creative writing at Dankuk University in Seoul.

Poetry by Lee Si-young

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Taebaek Mountain, Photography by Kim Kyung-sang

Poetry by Lee Si-young

Like an arrow that goes through air
and sticks to the target,
its whole body quivering.
If only my language
could go through the wind
and touch someone’s heart
and enter it deeply, shaking hard.
Like a seed fire,
or like the first song of love
made with the whole body.

(詩)

화살 하나가 공중을 가르고 과녁에 박혀
전신을 떨듯이
나는 나의 언어가
바람 속을 뚫고 누군가의 가슴에 닿아
마구 떨리면서 깊어졌으면 좋겠다
불씨처럼
아니 온몸의 사랑의 첫 발성처럼

Lee Si-young (1949- ) was born in Gurye, Jeollanamdo. He studied creative writing at Seorabeol College of Arts. Since his literary debut in 1969, he has published poetry collections such as The Full Moon (1976), Into the Wind (1986), Friend, the Road Is Far (1988), The Song Dangling with Dew (1991), The Pattern (1994), The Gap (1996), The Quiet Blue Sky (1997), The Silver Whistle (2003), The Sea Lake (2004), The Aroma of Cow Dung(2005), and For Our Dead (2007). He has received many prestigious literary awards, including The Jung Ji-yong Literary Award (1996), The Dongseo Literary Award (1998), Modern Buddhist Literary Award (2004), The Jihoon Award (2004) and The Baeksok Literary Award (2004). For the last forty years, he has strived to write “poetry, resisting the reality and contradictions of the day.” He currently teaches creative writing at Dankuk University in Seoul.