60s-70s / K-L / Poems in Korean Middle School Textbooks / Poetry Translation

Awareness: the Visage of Happiness – Kim Hyunseung

Awareness: the Visage of Happiness

Kim Hyunseung (1913-1975)

If happiness comes to me,
I thank it;
Even if misfortune comes to me,
I thank it.

Happiness comes once from outside,
Once from inside.

Our door to happiness
Opens from outside
But also from inside.

When I’m happy,
I warmly cherish the sunlight of today;
When I’m misfortunate,
I cherish the stars of tomorrow.

Like this, the breath of my continuance
Is inhaled from outside and
Exhaled from inside.

Like this, the ocean of my continuance
Rolls ceaselessly, ceaselessly,
Becoming high tide and
Becoming low tide!

(Translated by Jido Ahn. May 2016)


Learn more about the poet: Kim Hyunseung (1913-1975)
(I could not find any information about Kim in English, so I linked an article from the Soongsil Times, which explains a little bit about Kim.)


지각 (知覺)  – 행복의 얼굴


내게 행복이 온다면
나는 그에게 감사하고,
내게 불행이 와도
나는 또 그에게 감사한다.

한 번은 밖에서 오고
한 번은 안에서 오는 행복이다.

우리의 행복의 문은
밖에서도 열리지만
안에서도 열리게 되어 있다.

내가 행복할 때
나는 오늘의 햇빛을 따스히 사랑하고
내가 불행할 때
나는 내일의 별들을 사랑한다.

이와 같이 내 생명의 숨결은
밖에서도 들여쉬고
안에서도 내어쉬게 되어 있다.

이와 같이 내 생명의 바다는
밀물이 되기도 하고
썰물이 되기도 하면서
끊임없이 끊임없이 출렁거린다!


Although it is not obvious in this poem, Kim was a faithful Christian throughout his life. However, I translated “그” (a nonspecific pronoun) as “it” to refer to “happiness” and “misfortune,” instead of translating it as “Him” to refer to God. While many of Kim’s poems are related to Christianity, It is unclear if Kim intended this poem to be one of them. Also, because the poem talks about fluidity of happiness within oneself, it seemed more appropriate to interpret “그” as happiness and misfortune in oneself.


Photo source: Jeollanam-do Culture & Arts Foundation (Currently Jeollanam-do Arts & Culture Tourism)


2 thoughts on “Awareness: the Visage of Happiness – Kim Hyunseung

  1. Pingback: Translation Samples | Shyun Jeong Ahn

  2. Pingback: 안 정 수현

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