80s-90s / Poetry Translation / S-Z

East Sea—At Hupo Port – Shin Kyung-nim

East Sea—At Hupo Port

Shin Kyung-nim (1936-)

Many days, I despise my friends more than my enemies.
Many times, a fault as tiny as dust
Looks huge like a straw mat, like a hill.
This may be why when the world is in confusion,
I become harsh on others and lenient on myself;
I become petty and hardened like a stone.

Looking out to East Sea in the distance, I think:
Could I be generous like the vast sea?
Like the deep and blue sea,
Could I be bosoming, embracing, and accepting,
While governing myself with unyielding waves;
While whipping my body with a stern and sharp cane?

(Translated by Jido Ahn. March 2017)


Learn more about the poet: Shin Kyung-nim (1936 – )


동해바다 – 후포에서

신경림 (1936~)

친구가 원수보다 미워지는 날이 많다
티끌만한 잘못이 멧방석만하게
동산만하게 커보이는 때가 많다
그래서 세상이 어지러울수록
남에게는 엄격해지고 내게는 너그러워지나보다
돌처럼 잦아지고 굳어지나보다

멀리 동해바다를 내려다보며 생각한다
널따란 바다처럼 너그러워질 수는 없을까
깊고 짙푸른 바다처럼
감싸고 끌어안고 받아들일 수는 없을까
스스로는 억센 파도로 다스리면서
제 몸은 맵고 모진 매로 채찍질하면서

Source of the portrait: Changbi Publishers

3 thoughts on “East Sea—At Hupo Port – Shin Kyung-nim

    • For sure! He also wrote <>, a collection of essays where the poet talks about the life and philosophy of famous poets of Korea. It’s interesting to hear his narrative, as he himself is one of the most established poets in Korea. Hopefully it will be available in English sooner or later!

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