Korean Poetry

The following is a random collection of poems from poets both now and centuries ago. All are Korean in origin.

This first one is beautiful in its cynicism and truth:

“The One Inside Was Already Outside”

The rumor that firelight burns for someone is a joke by childish troubadors.
Firelight simply burns for itself.
Has firelight ever belonged to me?
Have I ever been firelight?
The fact that someone else is not going to die in place of me,
is not going to take the underpass in place of me
not going to linger in the corridors of a university hospital
not going to ruffle through the pages of magazines,
there are times when that fact is cooler than an early morning in winter.
The so-called solitude bestowed on me after fighting with gravity once I am upright,
there are times when that is really fortunate.
There is no lie more stupid than to say that you have combined flesh.
That stuff does not combine.
The one inside was already the one outside
and is the one who will go outside again.
Did I ever see a strong ray of light make a detour round anything?
Did I ever see anything left behind?
Has rain ever once addressed a single word to me?
Ever forgiven me?
It’s because there is always only me in this breathtakingly beautiful world
that I feel dizzy like this.

-Heo Yeon

This probably best captures how every writer in tune with nature feels:

“Using Five-Old Man Peak as a Brush”
Using Mount Orobong as my brush,
Three rivers for ink
And blue sky for paper,
May my poem express what’s held in my heart.

-An Jung-geun

This one is short, simple and to the point:

Tranquility is like a mountain,
Happiness like water.

-Jung Do-jun

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