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

Parting with Kim


interpretive translation
A fate made of gold that’s lasted three worlds is split like a swallow’s tail
The matters of life and death from here on out lie only in two hearts
How would I ever betray what we promised in blossoming Yangjoo
My only fear is your returning—returning a complete stranger


syllabic translation
A rare bond comes to an end
What’s untold in our four hands
Never will I betray you
But who’s to say you will not  


Hwang describes her relationship with Kim as 金緣, which literally translates into “golden relationship.” This is an interesting word play because 金 is also the last name of the addressee—Kim. 燕尾 means the tail of a swallow, but it also is a way of figuratively saying that something diverged or people parted ways. Hwang compares “you” to 杜牧之, a famous libertine, in order to convey the fear that “you” are also as unreliable.

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