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.