Poetry in English/Translation
Chang Yoon Lee
A BLIND MERCHANT
In the temple
on the long, round moonlit altar
I was waiting for my love.
As I was waiting
submitting myself to the dulcet wind,
the world was full of awe and marvel;
to live waiting for someone.
Stars in the sky were ripening
like snow blossoms just about to fall;
the deep static of silence, the anxiety,
the pistils of ecstasy.
the Lord promised, so I was waiting
for my love,
the purest revelation shining down
through the golden hairs of Pluto and Uranus,
"Soon there would be no more pain,"
so on the altar, my desire was sweet and
naive as deer's blood.
Since I did not know
that the temple was a market,
I was a poor merchant
selling chickens and rouges,
and my love had passed me long ago,
Since I was blind,
my flesh was warm and tender
like a loaf of bread,
while I was waiting so long
sitting with chickens and rouges under
the halogen lamp ferociously flaring
like the eyes of a lion.
TERROR IS A BAKERY
She was uncomfortable. Sort of sad when
fussy customers rushed by, sitting in a bakery
among well risen loafs. In the sweet aroma of
butter, once she finished beating and puffing,
she would rather not concern herself with
others' business. But she did it anyway.
Rumors were radical.
Rumors that the world
might end tomorrow or next month, or one
third of the earth would be eaten by monsters
from outer space flew in and out like swirls of
wind on the street. The insides of warm and
soft dough were cozy at least. So she could
handle dark secrets of life pretty much freely.
But it was not easy, as soon as she stepped out
of the door. In the bakery at the end of the
street, she was a bit worried and questioned
sometimes. On the counter, under the bright
spring sun rays, not only dinner rolls could
became rotten. Soon the fresh body odors
would be decomposed, and mildew would grow to
kill others and others' others with no
question, with no resistance. So the bakery
girl with deep brown eyes was somewhat
uneasy until the last moment came, and, like a
flock of crows, black bombs from nowhere
blew out the roof, the windows, and her gently
breathing sweet heart...
A STREET LIGHT IN THE FOG
Is he writing a novel here? An old observer,
grabbing the wrist of a mysterious accident like a
pen, is bending down on a paper cavernously dark.
As if he is a miner searching for cold coal lines in a
cave. Along with his finger tips, the unknown
sorrow of autumn is squirming up like tiny, soft
crickets. Who in the world is the sweet, austere
scent of a 7th plot for? Heavy fog, swirling out and
low around his ankles, refuses to rest until it
reaches far away interstates of the darkest velocity.
Fog, fog, muffled cries. He wouldn't end the story
like this; however the story seems to be ending
now. The story of ten million people loving,
betraying, and redeeming each other in the city of
infinite depth and pinnacles, The Seoul Elegy.