80s-90s / M-R / Poetry Translation

Cricket – Ra Heeduk


Ra Heeduk (1966 – )

Buried in a cicada’s noise that shakes a tall branch,
My cry is not yet a song.

Between the narrow crack in the concrete wall of an underpass,
Between the cries I pour out on the cold floor
Where there is neither grass nor drop of dew coming down,
Though stifled, here I am alive.
Churr, churr—The sound of a signal I send,
Could it move someone else’s heart?

Now is the time when a flock of cicadas pierces the sky;
On the day its sound lifts, and clear autumn rolls in callow grass
And descends the stairs to the underground,
Could my chirr that is squashed under a footstep
Also become a song that is carried away in someone else’s heart?




Learn more about the poet: Ra Heeduk (1966 – )


나희덕 (1966~)

높은 가지를 흔드는 매미소리에 묻혀
내 울음 아직은 노래 아니다.

차가운 바닥 위에 토하는 울음,
풀잎 없고 이슬 한 방울 내리지 않는
지하도 콘크리트벽 좁은 틈에서
숨막힐 듯, 그러나 나 여기 살아 있다.
귀뚜르르 뚜르르 보내는 타전소리가
누구의 마음 하나 울릴 수 있을까.

지금은 매미떼가 하늘을 찌르는 시절
그 소리 걷히고 맑은 가을이
어린 풀숲 위에 내려와 뒤척이기도 하고
계단을 타고 이 땅 밑까지 내려오는 날
발길에 눌려 우는 내 울음도
누군가의 가슴에 실려가는 노래일 수 있을까.



This poem was recreated as a song by Ahn Chihwan under the poet’s permission (not to be confused with Ahn Jihwan, a singer with a similar name) and became rapidly popular in 1993. This poem was published in a collection of poems in 1994, but I’m guessing the poem was individually published before then, since the song was published a year earlier than the collection. I’m linking the Youtube video below, so please check it out if you may. This is a legal content, uploaded by the TV broadcasting company that hosted this concert:




Photo source: Words Without Borders

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s