60s-70s / H-J / Poems in Korean Middle School Textbooks / Poetry Translation

Water, Wind, and Light (Land 11) – Jo Taeil

Water, Wind, and Light – Land 11

Jo Taeil (1941-1999)

Water and water meet in silence
And mingle without a trace.
Whether cold or hot, they mingle as they are.

Wind and wind, too, meet in silence
And mingle without a trace.
They mingle either swiftly or leisurely.

While things from one lineage meet and mingle as such,
Even stepping on the land of one lineage,

People cannot meet people.
I’m a person, but I cannot meet a person.

1975
(Translated by Jido Ahn. Feb 2016)

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Learn more about the poet (from Jirisan tourism official website):

Jo Tae-il was a poet who wrote poems with a very realistic view of life. He was born in 1941 in Gokseong, and made his debut as a poet after his poem ‘Morning Ship’ was selected as a prize-winner in the department of pomes of a spring literary contest sponsored by a Korean newspaper called the Kyunghyang Shinmun. Ever since his debut, the poet mostly wrote about a world where people can live together as a decent human being while getting along with one another. He didn’t just write lyric poetry, but instead tried to convey messages regarding the opposition to various restrictions that bind people and the system that destroys people’s lives.

·바람·빛 – 국토 11

조태일 (1941-1999)

물과 물은 소리없이 만나서
흔적없이 섞인다.
차가운 대로 혹은 뜨거운 대로 섞인다.

바람도 바람도 소리없이 만나서
흔적없이 섞인다.
쏜살같이 혹은 느릿느릿 섞인다.

한핏줄끼리는 그렇게 만나고 섞이는데
한핏줄의 땅을 딛고서도

사람은 사람을 만날 수가 없구나
사람이면서 나는 사람을 만날 수가 없구나.

1975

 

This poem appears in 7th grade Korean textbook.

 

photo source: OhMyNews blog

 

 

 

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