Shhh by Moon In-soo

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Illustrated by Kwon Shin-ah

Illustrated by Kwon Shin-ah

Shhh* by Moon In-soo

I have been to his father’s funeral.

He told me a story: he, who had passed his sixtieth year, held his father, beyond 90 and helped him urinate. Even though life’s important controls had left the old body, his mind was still like a lantern. Afraid that the old man might feel hopeless, he helped him, half joking and half playing the baby, saying “Father, shhh, shhh, all right, all, right, you must feel good.”

When he held his father, it was as if he entered deep into the whole body. When he held his father like that as though giving back to the body, how much might the old man have tried to shrink himself to make himself smaller and lighter? His urine thread cut off frequently, but such a long thread that the son again and again tried to tie it down to the earth pitifully, but the father with difficulty might sever it now. Shhh,

Shhh! The universe must be quiet.

*In Korean, this word refers to not only a way to make someone hush, but also is used as an onomatopoeia to help children urinate.

/문인수

그의 상가엘 다녀왔습니다.

환갑을 지난 그가 아흔이 넘은 그의 아버지를 안고 오줌을 뉜 이야기를 들었습니다. 생의 여러 요긴한 동작들이 노구를 떠났으므로, 하지만 정신은 아직 초롱 같았으므로 노인께서 참 난감해 하실까봐 “아버지, 쉬, 쉬이, 어이쿠, 어이쿠, 시원허시것다아”농하듯 어리광부리듯 그렇게 오줌을 뉘였다고 합니다.

온 몸, 온 몸으로 사무쳐 들어가듯 아, 몸 갚아드리듯 그렇게 그가 아버지를 안고 있을 때 노인은 또 얼마나 더 작게, 더 가볍게 몸 움츠리려 애썼을까요. 툭, 툭, 끊기는 오줌발, 그러나 그 길고 긴 뜨신 끈, 아들은 자꾸 안타까이 땅에 붙들어 매려 했을 것이고 아버지는 이제 힘겹게 마저 풀고 있었겠지요. 쉬,

쉬! 우주가 참 조용하였겠습니다.

mooninsoophotoMoon In-soo (1945-) was born in Sungju, Gyeongsangbuk-do. He studied Korean literature at Dongkuk University in Seoul. He made his debut when he was forty two years old. He published such poetry collections as All the Roads In the World Lead To Home (1992), The Horn (1992), The Nesting Mountain (1999), Shhh! (2006), Umbilical Cord (2008) andThe Sound of Silence (2012). His prestigious literary awards include the Kim Dal-jin Literary Award (2000), the No Jak Literary Award (2003), and the Meedang Literary Award (2007).

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Dangling by Moon In-soo

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photography by Lee Hyun-sook

Photography by Lee Hyun-sook

Dangling by Moon In-soo

The grandmother who lives alone visits the district office. So bent, she looks like a snail.
She walks up the alley unbearably slowly, as if licking her life, hiding her hungry belly, folded in upon itself. At the end of the serpentine alleyway, she squats down alone, dangling;
she resumes walking and rests again. Below the electric pole, why, a dandelion blossom is yellow. At the bottom, the end of her memory

appears yellow.

Yellow, starved of milk. When are you going to climb over the sky’s summit, dangling?

As the kettle’s top breaks off, a birds flies away some point in time.

꼭 지/문인수

독거노인 저 할머니 동사무소 간다. 잔뜩 꼬부라져 달팽이 같다
그렇게 고픈 배 접어감추며
여생을 핥는지, 참 애터지게 느리게
골목길 걸어올라간다. 골목길 꼬불꼬불한 끝에 달랑 쪼그리고 앉아 꼭지야,
걷다가 또 쉬는데
전봇대 아래 웬 민들레 꽃 한 송이
노랗다. 바닥에 기억의 끝이

노랗다.

젖배 곯아 노랗다. 이년의 꼭지야 그 언제 하늘 꼭대기도 넘어가랴.

주전자 꼭다리 떨어져나가듯 저, 어느 한점 시간처럼 새 날아간다.

mooninsoophotoMoon In-soo (1945-) was born in Sungju, Gyeongsangbuk-do. He studied Korean literature at Dongkuk University in Seoul. He made his debut when he was forty two years old. He published such poetry collections as All the Roads In the World Lead To Home (1992), The Horn (1992), The Nesting Mountain (1999), Shhh! (2006), Umbilical Cord (2008) andThe Sound of Silence (2012). His prestigious literary awards include the Kim Dal-jin Literary Award (2000), the No Jak Literary Award (2003), and the Meedang Literary Award (2007).

The Moon’s Bare Foot by Moon In-soo

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

mooninseoul

The Moon’s Bare Foot by Moon In-soo

The Moon lingers for a long while,
and she, too, crosses the river again awkwardly
via the iron railway bridge.
Why are these shoes here?
Wearing the clouds, the Moon has been dark for a moment,
and is barefoot again.
Some woman’s feet—they stink.

달의맨발/문인수

달이 한참 뭉그적거리다가 저도 한강,
철교를 따라 어설프게 건너본다.
여기, 웬 운동화?
구름을 신고 잠깐 어두웠던 달, 다시 맨발이다.
어떤 여자의 발 고린내가 차다.

mooninsoophotoMoon In-soo (1945-) was born in Sungju, Gyeongsangbuk-do. He studied Korean literature at Dongkuk University in Seoul. He made his debut when he was forty two years old. He published such poetry collections as All the Roads In the World Lead To Home (1992), The Horn (1992), The Nesting Mountain (1999), Shhh! (2006), Umbilical Cord (2008) andThe Sound of Silence (2012). His prestigious literary awards include the Kim Dal-jin Literary Award (2000), the No Jak Literary Award (2003), and the Meedang Literary Award (2007).

A Dwelling by Moon In-soo

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Painted by Kang Jang-won

Painted by Kang Jang-won

A Dwelling by Moon In-soo

The wind has died down.  Ah, at last,
the empty air is the only thing one can lean on.

거처/문인수

바람이 잔다. 아, 결국
기댈 데란 허공뿐이다.

출전: “그립다는 말의 긴 팔” (서정시학, 2012)

mooninsoophotoMoon In-soo (1945-) was born in Sungju, Gyeongsangbuk-do. He studied Korean literature at Dongkuk University in Seoul. He made his debut when he was forty two years old. He published such poetry collections as All the Roads In the World Lead To Home (1992), The Horn (1992), The Nesting Mountain (1999), Shhh! (2006), Umbilical Cord (2008) andThe Sound of Silence (2012). His prestigious literary awards include the Kim Dal-jin Literary Award (2000), the No Jak Literary Award (2003), and the Meedang Literary Award (2007).

October by Moon In-soo

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

pumpkin

October by Moon In-soo

The spot I picked up the pumpkin,
the pumpkin had sat, pressing down the ground.
The center of autumn
caved in.
For awhile, I will suffer this way.

10월/문인수

호박 눌러 앉았던, 따 낸
자리.
가을의 한복판이 움푹
꺼져 있다.
한동안 저렇게 아프겠다.

출전: 시집, “동강의 높은 새” (세계사, 2000)

mooninsoophotoMoon In-soo (1945-) was born in Sungju, Gyeongsangbuk-do. He studied Korean literature at Dongkuk University in Seoul. He made his debut when he was forty two years old. He published such poetry collections as All the Roads In the World Lead To Home (1992), The Horn (1992), The Nesting Mountain (1999), Shhh! (2006), Umbilical Cord (2008) andThe Sound of Silence (2012). His prestigious literary awards include the Kim Dal-jin Literary Award (2000), the No Jak Literary Award (2003), and the Meedang Literary Award (2007).

Love: Making a Long Distance Phone Call by Moon In-soo

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photography by Na Mari

Love: Making a Long Distance Phone Call by Moon In-soo

So it’s raining over there?
It’s bright and sunny here.
Your sadness dries up little by little.
I am slowly getting drenched.

사랑, 오래 통화 중인 것/문 인 수

그곳은 비 온다고?
이곳은 화창하다.
그대 슬픔 조금, 조금씩 마른다.
나는, 천천히 젖는다.

Moon In-soo (1945-) was born in Sungju, Gyeongsangbuk-do. He studied Korean literature at Dongkuk University in Seoul. He made his debut when he was forty two years old. He published such poetry collections as All the Roads In the World Lead To Home (1992), The Horn (1992), The Nesting Mountain (1999), Shhh! (2006), Umbilical Cord (2008) and The Sound of Silence (2012). His prestigious literary awards include the Kim Dal-jin Literary Award (2000), the No Jak Literary Award (2003), and the Meedang Literary Award (2007).