80s-90s / K-L / Poems in Korean Middle School Textbooks / Poetry Translation

The Farmer and The Poet – Kim Yong Taik

The Farmer and The Poet

Kim Yong Taik (1948-)

My father
Built a house
With grass, tree, soil, wind, water, and sunshine
And lived in the house
As he tended the crops.
And I,
With what do I write a poem?
I, like my father,
Want to write a poem
With grass, tree, soil, wind, water, and sunshine
And live in the poem.

1998
(Translated by Jido Ahn. April 2016)

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Learn more about the poet: Kim Yong Taik (1948-)

농부와 시인

김용택 (1948-)

아버님은
풀과 나무와 흙과 바람과 물과 햇빛으로
집을 지으시고
그 집에 살며
곡식을 가꾸셨다.
나는
무엇으로 시를 쓰는가.
나도 아버지처럼
풀과 나무와 흙과 바람과 물과 햇빛으로
시를 쓰고
그 시 속에서 살고 싶다.

 

It was important to keep “I” (“나는”) of the sixth line independent from the seventh line because of the poem’s structure: The sixth line corresponds to the first line. However, there is no way I can omit “I” from the seventh line and move it to the sixth line in English. So I decided to repeat I in sixth and seventh line. And to make the poem flowing, I added “And.” While there is no word that corresponds to “and” in Korean original, I believe this was an appropriate choice according to the logical relation of “my father” and “I” in the poem.

Photo source: Gangwon Culture & Education Support Center

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