At Sapyeong Station
Kwak Jae-gu (1954 – )
The last train hadn’t come for a while.
All night, outside the waiting room, snowflakes were piling.
By every window, where a white gust of lilac was dazzling,
a sawdust stove was burning red.
Some were dozing like the last day of a month,
some were coughing from a cold.
Thinking about nostalgic moments,
I tossed a handful of sawdust into the glow,
Despite the countless things to say buried deep inside,
we soaked our blue palms in the glow, and
nobody said a word.
We all knew
we had to stay silent, as though we were drunk,
feeling as though we were returning to our hometowns
while fidgeting with a string of croakers or a basket of apples.
Amid the sound of persistent coughs,
amid the smoke of cigarettes that is bitter like medicine,
the snowflakes piled up with a whisper.
Yes, now, we all
soak our ears in the harmony of snowflakes.
Once after midnight,
all the estrangement and throes will be covered in the snowland—
With the windows that look like autumn leaves,
to where is the night train running once again?
Calling out the nostalgic moments, I
tossed a handful of teardrops into the glow.
(Translated by Jido Ahn. April 2016)
Learn more about the poet: Kawk Jae-gu (1954 – )
막차는 좀처럼 오지 않았다
대합실 밖에는 밤새 송이눈이 쌓이고
흰 보라 수수꽃 눈시린 유리창마다
톱밥난로가 지펴지고 있었다
그믐처럼 몇은 졸고
몇은 감기에 쿨럭이고
그리웠던 순간들을 생각하며 나는
한줌의 톱밥을 불빛 속에 던져 주었다
내면 깊숙이 할 말들은 가득해도
청색의 손바닥을 불빛 속에 적셔두고
모두들 아무 말도 하지 않았다
산다는 것이 때론 술에 취한 듯
한 두름의 굴비 한 광주리의 사과를
만지작거리며 귀향하는 기분으로
침묵해야 한다는 것을
모두들 알고 있었다
오래 앓은 기침소리와
쓴 약 같은 입술 담배 연기 속에서
싸륵싸륵 눈꽃은 쌓이고
그래 지금은 모두들
눈꽃의 화음에 귀를 적신다
낯설음도 뼈아픔도 다 설원인데
단풍잎 같은 몇 잎의 차창을 달고
밤열차는 또 어디로 흘러가는지
그리웠던 순간들을 호명하며 나는
한줌의 눈물을 불빛 속에 던져 주었다
Other poems of Kwak Jae-gu:
The Chilseok – Kwak Jaegu
Photo source: Woman Donga