On the day my body ends its stay on earth
I will race out at full speed
from the body that held me captive
from the dark and stifling prison.
Stick to a tree and become a leaf
hang from a branch and become a flower, then
seep into the ground as water and soar in midair as wind.
I’ll be a bird and fly up to the Big Dipper, to Scorpio,
and into air scatter whitely in powdered silver.
I will not be sad. Even if my dreams in this world
leave nothing on earth but the trace of a tear
even if in the end, whatever those dreams were
is all forgotten when the time comes.
Translated by Sophie Bowman
Shin Kyeong-nim is a poet and Endowed Chair Professor at Dongguk University. He has won prestigious awards such as the Manhae Literature Prize, the Daesan Literary Award, and the Ho- Am Prize for the Arts. The Swedish Institute awarded him the Cikada Prize in 2007. The French edition of Dreams of the Fallen (Le Rêve d’un homme abattu: Choix de poèmes) was published by Éditions Gallimard.