80s-90s / Poems in Korean Middle School Textbooks / Poetry Translation / S-Z

A Fall Mail Carrier – Song Myungho

A Fall Mail Carrier

Song Myungho (1938-2007)

 

A wind, who delivers a dry leaf letter,
is a fall mail carrier.

What is written
on a yellow ginkgo leaf?
Who has sent
a maple leaf that looks like a pretty hand?

If we hark back to nostalgic thoughts and
the faces of childhood friends,
let’s make an album
with a leaf on every page.

A wind, who delivers a dry leaf letter,
is a fall mail carrier

1996
(Translated by Jido Ahn. January 2016)

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 2.13.20 AM

가을 우체부

송명호

가랑잎 편지를 전해 주는
바람은 가을 우체부.

뭐라고 썼을까
노오란 은행잎에
그 누가 보냈을까
예쁜 손같은 단풍잎을.

솔솔 그리운 생각일랑
소꿉동무 얼굴이 떠오르면
책장마다 한잎 두잎
앨범 만들자.

가랑잎 편지를 전해 주는
바람은 가을 우체부.

1996

This poem appears in 7th grade Korean textbook. Although I don’t think this poem was specifically targeted children (see line 8), it seems like this poem is often considered as children’s poem.

There’s another poet with the same name, who actually appears in the front page of Naver (the most popular Korean website) when you search “Song Myeongho.” This poet was born in 1952 and is a different person from the poet of this poem. Song seemed to be dedicated to children’s literature, yet there is no information about him even in Korean. I think it’s due to relative lack of interest in children’s literature among Koreans.

A quick chitchat— At first, I translated the title as “A Mail Carrier in the Fall” as this sounds the most idiomatic. The problem with this translation is that “가을 우체부” may mean several different things: a mail carrier who delivers in the fall, a mail carrier who delivers a fall (as if it’s an object), a mail carrier of the fall (a mail carrier who represents the season fall)… I decided to translate the title quite literally, hence “A Fall Mail Carrier.” Like the original title, I believe this translation can effectively carry several different meanings. I’d be glad to hear any opinion about this.

 

 

 

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