experiencing a poem

Chang sonsengnim, who always calls me Sara sonsengnim, tells me about Seonwoonsa.  He wants to learn English and I should feel free to correct him.  I should feel free because of “Jobaeki” which literally means something about dolling out dough with a spoon, but means that you will take advice from anyone, regardless of status.

Sa means temple, he explains. In Cholla province, in the backyard of Seonwoonsa temple, in February, the Camelia flower blooms and it is beautiful. There is a poem by Kim Yong-taek. I ask him to write the poet’s name for me, but he copies the whole poem into my notebook and tries to explain.


I read, “여자.”

“여자, woman. 버림 받고…버림 받고…” Consulting Google we settle on throw away.

“남자, man, woman, 버림 받고. If Sara and me are lovers,” some mime of the throwing away. “No cry. Road, road beside, river. Small river. Road to Seonwoonsa, beside, river. Ice.” Fingers held apart to indicate, “Thin. Thin ice. Cross the river. Shoes put off and cross the river.” Grits his teeth, “Ayayaya, too cold. Hurt. Seonwoonsa temple backyard,” makes a frame of the forest with his hands, “Camelia flower,” a look of awe, “then cry.”

선운사 동백꽃


여자에게 버림 받고
살얼음낀 선운사 도랑물을
맨발로 건너며
발이 아리는 시린 물에
이 악물고
그까짓 사랑때문에
그까짓 여자때문에
다시는 울지 말자
다시는 울지 말자
눈물을 감추다가
동백꽃 붉게 터지는
선운사 뒤안에 서서
엉엉 울었다.

The Google translation:

Line fortune company camellia seed flower

Kim Yong-taek

It throws away in the woman to receive,
The flesh ice the line fortune company ditch water which it puts
It crosses with the bare feet,
Foot Oh [li] in cold water
For the peeling act love
For that peeling act woman
It does not cry roll up again
It does not cry roll up again
It hides a tear,
The camellia seed flower it breaks red
It stands inside rear of line fortune company,
[eng] [eng] It cried.


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