09 March 2007

Four poems

I'd like to buy her some toffee
but I don't have a daughter

as I pass a sidewalk store in autumn.

* * *

the mother has fallen asleep
so her baby is listening all alone
to the sound of the night train.

* * *

Frogs croaking in flooded paddies—
if there really is a world beyond,
echo far enough so my dead brother can hear.

* * *

A boat whistles in the night.
For a moment I too long to sail away

but merely pull the blanket up over the kids.

Ko Un

Translated, from the Korean, by Brother Anthony of Taize, Young-moo Kim, and Gary Gach.

(Alf, please skip.)


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't buy her toffee,
even if i had a daughter,

as the poet sticks with autumn.


the daughter has grown up,
so her mother is listening all alone,
for the sound of the steps on the way home.


rain pitapating on misted windows,
if there really is a world inside,
hit heavy enough so my lost friend can wake up.


a river gurgles in the early morning,
at this moment too cold to swallow,

but merely hurries on the way across the boundaries.

JJB said...

Well done.