Featured Poem 2/25 – “Mokkye Market”

Mokkye Market by Shin Kyŏng-Nim

The sky urges me to turn into a cloud,
the earth urges me to turn into a breeze,
a little breeze waking weeds on the ferry landing
once storm clouds have scattered and rain has cleared.
To turn into a peddler sad even in autumn light,
going to Mokkye Ferry, three days’ boat ride from Seoul,
to sell patent face-powders, on days four and nine.
The hills urge me to turn into a meadow flower,
the stream urges me to turn into a stone.
To hide my face in the grass when hoarfrost bites,
to wedge behind rocks when rapids rage cruel.
To turn into a traveller with pack laid by, resting
on a clay hovel’s wood step, river shrimps boiling up,
changed into a fool for a week or so, once in thrice three years.
The sky urges me to turn into a breeze,
the hills urge me to turn into a stone.

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4 Responses

  1. Trident says:

    Beautiful. Was this translated or written in English? Not a huge fan of the repetition at the end, but if it was translated I could see why it was like that.

    But it was really beautifully done.

    • Hannah says:

      Definitely translated. If you click on the link of the author’s name and scroll to the bottom, the translator’s done several differently-styled translations of this particular poem, which are interesting to see.

  2. PenguinAttack says:

    This is so lovely. You’re going to make me want to devour poetry again. It does so many things to my mind!

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