Posts by Brother Anthony of Taizé

Translation Tuesday: Two poems by Yoo An-Jin

Now my language is a roaring of waves

It’s not often that poets become household names, but acclaimed Korean poet Yoo An-Jin had help from her contribution to the immensely popular essay collection, “Dreaming of a Beautiful Friendship,” as well as from her first novel, Anemones do not Wither, adapted into a hit television series. In these poems, sensitively translated by Brother Anthony of Taizé and Yu Chang-Gong, we see the other side of that popularity: the sudden loneliness amid a crowd; the naked dread of age.

Aged Forty

Just as the place where a river ends is the sea,
do we reach the sea of tears
at the age when youth’s tears run dry?

Now my language is a roaring of waves
and if once I shout
ten million words resonate
while my gestures have turned into writhing waves.

Though it unravel ten million times,
it is all a knot of dancing steps
indeed, from forty onwards is an age of tears,
an age of tears
showing nothing but waterways.

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Translation Tuesday: Two Poems by Kim Seung-Hee

Avantgardists are dreadfully fierce though they do not mean to be.

In Poetry’s Emergency Room

Poetry is emergency room, poetry is oxygen tent, poetry is red blood inside a cold apple,

sorrow is like fertilizer

that must be sprinkled here and there on poetry,

poetry is a pregnant woman’s day,

the day of delivery nobody knows when it will be;

poetry comes racing embracing a bomb,

racing over the clouds.

Yet in one tiny paddy-field,

yellow heads of rice are ripening.

A field the size of a bowl of rice, small enough for a conical hat to cover,

a tiny bowl of a hat-field,

a gruel-bowl sized, rice-bowl sized gruel-field, rice-field,

hat-field.

Ordinary patients recover energy thanks to a bowl of gruel,

so by the power of a small strip of autumnal paddy

I am saved, you are saved,

so once again we lie flat on the field gleaning ears of language

then sow seeds of language

so that golden paddy-fields rise in tiers,

one of your poems,

a steaming bowl of rice, your collection of lyric poems. READ MORE…