Hands

May 24, 2012 in Poetry


I put on the gloves.

My hands shrunk absurdly.
When I put them on my knees
they look so strange.

      *

What I actually envied
was not you
but your soft fingers.

With your fingers
to hold my hand
to touch my face
and to touch your face as well.

I wonder why love can’t be done in three’s.
Why in this world
there are only you and me.

      *

I pulled off the gloves and placed my hand on the window.

If I carefully peel it off
my palm lines will stick to the glass.
They might grow recklessly.

But because fate must be obeyed
let’s tape the window so it will not break
and never take off our gloves again.

      *

Inside the gloves, two hands.

One is mine
I hope the other is yours.


By Shin Hae-Wook
translated, from the Korean, by Chloe Park

 
Chloe Park was born in Seoul, Korea in 1991 and moved to the U.S. in 1999. She is currently a senior undergraduate at University of California, Berkeley, and is working on her English major. Shin Hae-Wook (1974-) was born in Chuncheon, Gwangwon-do, and earned her Masters in Korean Literature at Hanrim University. She has published two collections of poetry, Biological and Concise Arrangement, and a collection of essays, Heat of the Unadult.
 

snail

May 24, 2012 in Poetry


my heart is tender so my shell is strong
my shell is tender so my heart is strong
if not lonely, people will not set forth on a road
if not lonely, a snail will not set forth on a road

the moon, now fading, is cold like quartz
the grass on my road has already turned damp
kettle in hand, stepping on the morning dew
someone approaches from the way I must go

a blameless boy
the boy, by chance, steps on me, goes on
he must have thought I was the morning dew


By Chung Ho-seung
translated, from the Korean, by Mia You

 
Mia You is doctoral student in English literature at the University of California, Berkeley and received a Masters degree in Korean literature at Harvard University. Chung Ho-seung (1950-) is one of South Korea’s most acclaimed and popular contemporary writers. His poetry collections include From Sorrow to Happiness, Jesus of Seoul and Dawn Letter.
 

South Han River

March 8, 2012 in Poetry


a ferryboat floats in the center
of the frozen South Han River

before the season’s first frost had iced
it had wanted to go someplace far
and had decided on its own upon the faraway ocean
but instead it simply froze to a stop

that the South Han River reeds
had overnight called forth the winter
to grasp hold of their beloved ferryboat
so it could go nowhere else
was only unknown to the ferryboat itself


By Chung Ho-seung
translated, from the Korean, by Mia You

 
Mia You is a Ph.D student in English literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Chung Ho-seung (1950-) is recognized as one of South Korea’s most popular contemporary authors. He has won almost all of Korea’s most prestigious poetry awards, including the Sowol Literary Prize and the Dong Suh Literary Prize.