poems for Cracow

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Ko Un will be visiting Poland this November. He has been invited by two Nobel laureate poets, Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska.

Mrs. Lee Sang-wha has requested I send her 20-30 poems for translation into Polish, including works from previously published editions.

Brother Anthony has suggested the selection include: ROAD, ABOUT MYSELF, DAWN, AFTERNOON, DRAWING MAPS, ROAD NOT YET TRAVELLED, MOUNTAIN, HOME, THE SOUND OF A FLUTE, MEMORIAL STONE, TIME LIKE A TURTLE, FIELD PATH, A WORKMAN. (I've hyperlinked the latter 'cos it's the first one I posted to this bulletin board for collaborative revision -- to show another aspect of what this bulletin board can do; process.)

Does Professor Kim have any poems he'd like to "nominate"?

I will post my list of 30 poems (more likely 40, as I'll include 10 from WHAT?.)

Discussion is invited.

-- Anonymous, May 25, 2000


Here's my rough rough-draft of a selection of poems for Cracow - for your additions, deletions, corrections, etc.

I'd be happy to post and collate subsequent lists - plus the poems themselves, in the versions in which they're being sent.

Thank you.


Early lyric

from 10,000 Lives

recent poems

son poems

more recent poems

-- Anonymous, May 25, 2000

Extra poems from 10,000 lives suggested by Prof Kim

The Petticoat Thief

The thief got into the kitchen, hungrily gobbled up the left-over rice, left a generous mound of shit and then rummaged through the dresser in the outer room and made off with one gold hairpin, one calico suit of clothes, and two petticoats.

The next morning Kil-sop's mother, who had been robbed, threw open the kitchen door and poured out curses as she cleaned up the shit:

'Aigu! You cursed thief, like a pilchard's guts! What thief would take petticoats? Aigu! You petty-minded wretch, you dirty-minded rogue, Aigu, and you call yourself a man, with such wretched balls as yours? Who ever stole petticoats from someone's house? Filthy thing, filthy.'

Yun Isang

'Go and reveal the Orient.' Such was the command he received from the Dragon King below the sea. So it was that one wounded dragon was born. So it was it set out.

That dragon came back as a prisoner 'invited' to the National Independence Day Ceremony. That dragon thrust its head into the fetters on the prison-cell walls. With his last strength in a suicide in rejection of murder he wrote a last message with his spurting blood. 'My son, before history and our people I am ashamed of nothing. The spying incident was a fabrication....' His life was saved from the very verge of death.

Then came the winter of prison for life. In the cell where his drinking water would freeze the dragon, it shoulders hunched, lay sprawled on the floor, wrapped in a blanket; he dreamed of the butterflies of Changzhu on the banks of the Yangtze. His scores survived. Thunder rolled, all crumbled, and lay desolate.

The outside world venerated his music with full-dress reverence. Could he perhaps be Mahler's successor?

The Novice at Songkwang Temple

In the mid Choson period, when Buddhism was active high in the mountains, hearing that the head monk at Songkwang Temple in Chogye Mountain was encouraging monastic practice, renowned in the Way, a begging monk came from the North to see him. Below the temple the river turns into a stream and as he climbed up beside the stream one cabbage leaf came floating down on the water. The wandering monk, seeing that, exclaimed: "Why, I've come on a fool's errand. What kind of virtue, what kind of teaching can I expect to find in a temple that does not know how to treasure sacred offerings, the goods of the community?" And he turned tail, back down the way he had come. Just then a little novice monk came rushing panting down from above "Monk sir, Monk sir, Monk sir! On your way up from below did you not happen to notice one cabbage leaf floating down?" he asked with what seemed his last breath. "Well, I did see one. Well, yes actually it should be this way." The wandering monk reversed his steps once again, painstakingly made his way to Samil hermitage among the Chogye forest, stood before the head monk's door and requested instruction. Just then heavy drops of rain began to fall from clouds covering the whole of Chogye Mountain. The birds busily flew away. The head monk's door opened. And would you believe it, the cute little novice he had met just before, who had come racing after the cabbage leaf, emerged: "Why rain has come and a guest has come; a guest has come and rain has come."

-- Anonymous, May 27, 2000

Gotcha. Thanks.

-- Anonymous, May 27, 2000

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