"One–eyed Person Passes the Test" by Do Myeong-hak

  • onFebruary 17, 2015
  • Vol.26 Winter 2014
  • byDo Myeong-hak

One–eyed Person Passes the Test


                                                                        by Do Myeong-hak


Though I’m one-eyed and unable to go to the army

my lot is better.

Classmates who used to mock me for being one-eyed

are being tortured in the army.

I do business, have love affairs, enjoy my life as it is.


Why has the party secretary called me suddenly?

They say a one-eyed guy like me can go to the army.

Hey, these are strange times.

Though I have no left eye, I can shoot all right.

If I had the right eye, I’d just pass the test!


The eyeball is like a bullet for a regular army.

One must dedicate to Kim Jong-il even the one eye left.

Now my lot is that of a dog without eyes.


adapted from North Korean Writers in Exile PEN Literature (2014 1st Issue p. 94)


* At the beginning of 2000, North Korea could not fulfill the needs of its armed forces so it lowered the standards for its recruits. Those with only a right eye passed the test because they could still shoot a gun.