The Gnarled Tree by Shin Byong-eun

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Painted by Kang Jang-won

The Gnarled Tree by Shin Byong-eun

To become wholly a part of you is to harden

the white wind that has stormed together, shaken the core,

and slipped through the top of my head.

To build a strong house on the edge of the wind

is part of the scar I must never forget.

옹이/ 신병은

진정으로 그대의 한 부분이 되는 일은 오랜 세월 떼

지어 다니며 중심을 흔들다 정수리를 빠져나간 하얀 바람

소리를 다지는 일이다

잊어서는 안 될 상처의 한 부분을 위해 그 바람의

기슭에 단단한 집을 짓는 일이다

Shin Byong-eun (1955 – ) was born in Changnyong, Gyongsangnam-do. His poetry collections include Blades of Grass with WindGreeting the Vegetable MorningThe Sleep of Grasses on the Other Side of the RiverHow to Fire Wind, and The Scenery of Poems and Paintings. He was awarded the Jeonnam Poetry Award, the Yeosu Arts and Culture Award, and the Hanryo Literary Award. Currently he teaches at Yeosu Information Science High School and serves as a chairperson of Yeosu Branch of the Federation of Arts and Culture Organizations of Korea.

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Fingerprints of Wind: Odong-do by Shin Byong-eun

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Painted by Kim Seon-soo

Fingerprints of Wind: Odong-do by Shin Byong-eun

Wind pushes up wind.
Today I carefully and slowly open the sound of wind,
accompanying the forest’s white wind,
remnants of wind that have lingered for thousands of years.
The chastity she traded to throw her body like a falling petal into wind
has bloomed into a camellia and her tale has become wind.
Yes, in the fresh blood red camellia I can see the road.
A footstep becomes the heart, and the heart becomes a road.
All over the sky and the earth these flowers have bloomed,
and in the depth of every wind these flowers have bloomed.

바람의 지문–오동도/ 신병은

바람이 바람을 밀어올려요
몇 천 년을 맴돌아온 바람의 퇴적,
나는 오늘 숲속 하얀 바람과 동행하며
조심스럽게 천천히 바람 소리를 열어봅니다
꽃잎처럼 몸을 던진 정절이 동백으로 피었고
설화 속의 물길이 바람이 되었어요
그랬어요
동백꽃 빨간 선혈 속에 길이 보여요
발길이 마음 되고 마음이 길이 되는,
하늘에도 땅에도 온통 꽃이 피었어요
바람의 깊이마다 꽃이 피었어요

The Long Quiet by Shin Byong-eun

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Painted by Kang Jang-won

The Long Quiet by Shin Byong-eun

I stand in front of two stone pagodas standing side by side
at Borim Temple at the foot of Gaji Mountain.
In that proximity,
they withstood the longing, unable to touch hands for a thousand years–
they even lit the translucent stone lantern.
Alongside the long silence that shines as it flies,
I put down one heart that has endured more than my life,
so I feel calm
when I take off my shoes neatly and quietly enter the hall.
The door silently opens to welcome me,
then the Buddha’s reliquary hall deepens as much as possible,
and it blooms into the silent stone flower of eternity.
The Word of silence responds to quiet praying
with a quiet smile—
you and I become silent, too.
It would be wonderful if you,
who were passionate once
and stayed for a short while before leaving,
could become a quiet, sunlit morning. 

오랜 고요

가지산 기슭의 보림사
나란한 삼층석탑 앞에 섭니다
그만큼의 거리로
천년 세월 손닿지 못한 그리움을 견디려
창 맑은 석등까지 밝혔습니다
날아가며 빛나는 오랜 고요 곁에
생애보다 더 견뎌온 마음 하나 내려놓습니다
덕분에 고요해졌습니다
신발 가지런히 벗어두고 살그머니 들어서면
말없이 문을 열어 나를 받아들입니다
그럴 때면 적멸궁은 깊어질 대로 깊어져
영겁의 고요로운 석꽃을 피웁니다
묵언발원의 끝말을 이으며
소리 없이 씨익 웃는 고요의 그 말씀에
너도 나도 그렇게 고요해질 뿐입니다
한 세월이 뜨거워
잠시 머물렀다 떠난 그대도
지금쯤 햇살 고요한 아침이면 좋겠습니다

Borim Temple (Jangheung, Korea)

A Letter from Odong-do by Shin Byong-eun

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Painted by Kim Seon-soo

A Letter from Odong-do

As people set their feet upon it,
the island’s breast firmly rises like a girl’s.
Every place the winter’s wind gets pushed away,
the breath of the people, whom spring touches earliest, is clear.
The island breathes in people’s breaths,
holds their wounds,
rolls its eyes at the edge of the cliff leading to empty air,
enters into the shadow where the white eye cries clearly
and eats a meal of wind.
Even when one whispers Odong-do,
she is surprised to the extent her waist bends,
and then adjusts her dress of white waves.
Even the sea that throws a seed of sunlight over every furrow of waves
stops for a moment to put a hand on her forehead,
and whistles into the clear wind.
People become shadows on the edge of the island
And will turn into a forest of camellias.

오동도에서 보내는 편지

발길이 닿자
섬은 소녀처럼 탱글하게 가슴이 부푼다
겨울바람을 밀어낸 자리마다
가장 먼저 봄이 닿은 사람들의 바람소리 맑다
섬은 사람들의 숨을 마시고
섬은 사람들의 상처를 받아들고
허공으로 길을 낸 벼랑 끝에 눈망울 굴리다
동박새 울음 맑은 그늘로 들어
바람의 한 끼 식사를 한다
오동도 하고 누가 속살대기만 해도
허리 젖혀 자지러지다
파도 하얀 옷춤을 여미곤 한다
파도의 이랑마다 햇살의 씨앗을 뿌리던 바다도
잠시 이마에 손을 얹고
바람 맑은 휘파람을 불어준다
섬의 가장자리에서 그늘이 된 사람들
동백숲이 된다

A Photo of Odong-do, Yeosu, Korea

The Road to Yeosu by Shin Byong-eun

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Painted by Kang Jang-won (Dolsan Bridge, Yeosu, Korea)

The Road to Yeosu by Shin Byong-eun

Friend,
suddenly you may feel the world is too much;
you may feel you are the only one in the world.
When you shake your head in the dead-end alley,
and say, “No, this is not it. This is not it,”
come to Yeosu at once, lightly,
throwing away all the burdens in your heart.
To you who have run a long way,
the generous rolling sea
and the islands that resemble wind
will softly whisper–
what shakes is not the core;
what shakes lasts only for a moment.
Showing you that living can be so light at times,
she will make a seaweed soup
and relieve you of your tangled and knotted life.
Friend,
knowing how lonely you were,
the smiling camellia, returning after the biting winter,
will untie her dress and rush to hold you.  

여수 가는 길/ 신병은

자네,
문득 세상살이 힘들 때가 있지
세상에 덜렁 혼자뿐이라고
아니다 아니다 이게 아니라고
막다른 골목에서 고개를 흔들 때
마음의 짐일랑 그대로 팽개치고
빈 몸 그대로 곧장 여수로 오시게
먼 길 달려온 자네에게
늘 넉넉하게 일렁이는 바다가
바람을 닮은 섬들이
흔들리는 것은 결코 중심은 아니라고
흔들리는 것은 잠시일 뿐이라고
넌지시 귀띔해 줄 걸세
때로는 사는 것이 얼마나 가벼운 거냐며
생미역 한 줄기 풀어
엉기고 맺힌 생을 해장시켜 줄 걸세
자네, 외로움이 얼마나 심했냐고
겨울 이기고 돌아온 동백꽃 웃음이
옷깃을 풀고 와락 안겨들 걸세

Shin Byong-eun (1955 – ) was born in Changnyong, Gyongsangnam-do. His poetry collections include Blades of Grass with Wind, Greeting the Vegetable Morning, The Sleep of Grasses on the Other Side of the River, How to Fire Wind, and The Scenery of Poems and Paintings. He was awarded the Jeonnam Poetry Award, the Yeosu Arts and Culture Award, and the Hanryo Literary Award. Currently he teaches at Yeosu Information Science High School and serves as a chairperson of Yeosu Branch of the Federation of Arts and Culture Organizations of Korea.

YouTube version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u72_Gf2e0JY