"Charm" by Shin Dalja




Dear Child,

If you’re getting on the Internet

take with you

a sheet of paper, just like a charm.

If you pass through fleshpots

where temptations are rampant,

or get snatched by the ankle

by those genome genes,

or lose sight in the web of radio waves

flashing in torrents,

or face

monsters, bogs, fierce winds,

then listen to the paper’s voice

rising clear and crisp.


If you tire out, all giddy

flustered navigating

from site to site,

then take a sheet of blank paper

and with all your mind

write down each letter of your name

stroke by stroke.



Translated by Cho Young-Shil



Shin Dalja is a member of the National Academy of Arts, and has served as the chair of the Society of Korean Poets. She has received the Republic of Korea’s Eungwan (Silver Crown) Order of Cultural Merit, the Chong Chi-Yong Literature Prize, the Daesan Literary Award, and the Gong Cho Literature Award. Her poetry collection Paper has been translated into Mongolian and Spanish, and Passionate Love into German.