Illustration by Anne Le Guern

Climbing for ten li, over the white cloud-dusted hill,
then, I came down to a small road leading to a village.
The golden waves of the barley field greeted me on both sides of the road.
That day, when I came over the hill and entered my village
a Sapsal dog barked at me, the colts, the foals, and the goats
all ran away. Even the field buntings and pigeons fled from me.
Before three days, I met them all at the meadows and became friends.
The girls I grew up with, some ran away to the city to make money,
some are married and gone to live in distant villages.
The child in the village, whose son he is, I know no longer.
When the time comes to leave, the colt, the foal, and the goats let me know,
how sad they are, it will be difficult to go over the hill…. After I am gone,
the town clerk, donned in a white summer hat will come have
a makguli with the head of the village at the tavern by the mountain.
Sad to leave my hometown, I will close my eyes and lean against the train window,
which will be heading to Seoul. So the day when I go over the hill,
no one will follow me but the worn out trunk and the white clouds.

Cho Ji Hoon

Born in 1920, Cho Ji Hoon (also romanized as Jo Jihun) is a canonical Korean poet and scholar of aesthetics rooted in the literary Sijo that began in 12th century and defined pre-industrial Korea. In 1939, Cho’s first poem appeared in the literary magazine MoonJang. In 1946, his poetry appeared with that of Park Mokwohl and Pak Doo Zin (also romanized as Pak Mok-wol and Pak Dujin) in Cheongnok Jip. The three were known as Cheongnokpa, or the Blue Deer School. Cho was a professor of Korean language and literature at Korea University for 20 years and published six poetry collections.

Sekyo Nam Haines

Born in South Korea, Sekyo Nam Haines immigrated to the US in 1973 as a registered nurse. Her first book, The Bitter Seasons' Whip: The Complete Poems of Lee Yuk Sa was published in April 2022. Her original poems appeared in poetry journals Off the Coast, Constellations, Lily Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Her translations of Korean poetry have appeared in many journals including The Harvard Review, The Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, Interim, The Front River, Asymptote blog, Tupelo Quarterly, and Anomaly. Sekyo lives in Cambridge, MA with her family.