Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2023  Vol. 21  No.3
an online journal of literature and the arts
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translation from Hangul by Suphil Lee Park

A Layered Poem


interpretive translation
Left alone here  I can’t think straight
Your journey takes time  And letters too scarce
My mind is nowhere near  Although I sit right here
Sad are my combs and towels  Even my fans and bracelets
A bell sings my house out of sleep  As the moon climbs the gazebo
By my side are but pillows and dreams  Clouds, why go now and so far away
Every day is just one more day to count  At dawn I open your letters and weep


syllabic translation
Left  Torn
Apart  In wait
Mind’s with you  Body here
Sad combs and rags  Fans and bangles
At night a bell rings  Moonrise at the pond
Lonely pillows and dreams  Clouds too go far away
Counting days, no end in sight  I shed tears reading letters


literal translation
Leave  Think
RoadFar  LettersDelayed
MindExistThere  BodyStayHere
TowelCombExistentAgony  FanBraceletNonexistentPromise
FragranceHouseBellChirpNight   PracticeGazeboMoonAboveTime
DependLonelyPillowHeedRemainingDream  WishReturnCloudDeploreFarLeave
DayWaitBeautifulPromiseAgonyCrookPoint  DawnOpenLoveLetterCrySupportChin  


“練” and “亭,” put together, means a gazebo over water.

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