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[Web Exclusive] A Poetry Reading by Poet Ahn Sanghak "When That Person Came Back I Was Not There"

  • onSeptember 2, 2019
  • byKorean Literature Now

 

 

When that person came back, I was not there.

 

When That Person Came Back
I Was Not There
I should have waited for that person then.
Just as a roe deer glances back briefly as it passes a ridge,
I should have stood waiting there for at least that long.
If it was night, I should have waited for dawn.
If the season was winter, I should have waited for spring.
Like a bear waiting for salmon,
like a magpie waiting for dead leaves to fall before building a nest.
I should have waited for that person to come.
I should not have gone racing across the western plains as the sun was setting.
I should not have crossed the eastward river while the dawn was far off.
Like a lotus flower retaining its fragrance, waiting for night.
like a dandelion preparing its bed, waiting for spring.
I should have waited there then, as if putting down roots.
I should not have gone roaming in the dark.
I should not have gone wandering over the meadows
in falling snow in search of that person.
When that person came like morning, I was not there.
When that person returned like spring, I was not there.
No matter how urgent, I cannot go on to tomorrow,
No matter how reluctant, I cannot go back to yesterday.
The way time comes and goes was not something possible for me.
The way seasons come and go was not possible for me.
I should have stayed standing there, waiting for that person.

 

ASIA Publishers, 2018, 121 pages

Excerpts from pp. 40~45.