80s-90s / H-J / Poems in Korean Middle School Textbooks / Poetry Translation

Cricket – Hwang Tong-gyu


Hwang Tong-gyu (1938-)

A cricket that was chirping around a benjamin vase on the balcony for several evenings
chirped in the utility room in the back yesterday.
A bit sluggishly.
What had made it move there,
while, by and by, autumn is deepening lonesomely?
Would it have crawled across the living room
or flown?
I imagine it would’ve slowly strolled across the living room
over the doorstep of an open balcony in the desolate daytime.
First, it would’ve hesitated in front of the television.
Every evening, the machine that had thrown bizarre light
on the faces of living things and furniture at home for a while.
It would’ve flown up and tried to touch the surface of the sleeky Braun tube
with its delicate sense of touch.
Ah, my eyes blacked out!
umbling, it would’ve landed as if it was crashing down
then taken a crickety nap on the mat.
Then, it would’ve trudged into the kitchen and
crossed the doorstep
to the most secluded part of the apartment…

… Today, it doesn’t make any sound.

(Translated by Jido Ahn. May 2016)

learn more about the poet: Hwang Tong-gyu (1938 -)


황동규 (1938~)

베란다 벤자민 화분 부근에서 며칠 저녁 울던 귀뚜라미가
어제는 뒤켠 다용도실에서 울었다.
다소 힘없이.
무엇이 그를 그곳으로 이사 가게 했을까.
가을은 점차 쓸쓸히 깊어가는데?
기어서 거실을 통과했을까,
아니면 날아서?
아무도 없는 낮 시간에 그가 열린 베란다 문턱을 넘어
천천히 걸어 거실을 건넜으리라 상상해 본다.
우선 텔레비전 앞에서 망설였을 것이다.
저녁마다 집 안에 사는 생물과 가구의 얼굴에
한참씩 이상한 빛 던지던 기계.
한번 날아올라 예민한 촉각으로
매끄러운 브라운관 표면을 만져 보려 했을 것이다.
아 눈이 어두워졌다!
손 헛짚고 떨어지듯 착륙하여
깔개 위에서 귀뚜라미잠을 한숨 잤을 것이다.
그리곤 어슬렁어슬렁 걸어 부엌에 들어가
바닥에 흘린 찻물 마른 자리 핥아 보고
뒤돌아보며 고개 두어 번 끄덕이고
문턱을 넘어
다용도실로 들어섰을 것이다.
아파트의 가장 외진 공간으로……

…… 오늘은 그의 소리가 없다.


Hwang is the son of Hwang Sun-won, a famous Korean novelist who wrote nationally-known short story, “Rainfall” (소나기). This short story has been featured in the national Korean middle school textbook since 1960. So my aunts and uncles who are in their 60s also read his story when they were attending school. And maybe with the talent he got from is father, Hwang Tong-gyu himself became a quite successful poet. This poem may feel like prose, because the lines tend to be lengthy, and the poem tells the story about a cricket.  Still, many of his other poems look and sound more like a standard poem people usually think of.

Photo source: Top Class Magazine

Other poems by Hwang Tong-gyu:
A Joyful Letter – Hwang Tong-gyu

One thought on “Cricket – Hwang Tong-gyu

  1. Pingback: A Joyful Letter – Hwang Tong-gyu | Ahn Translation

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