A Village

  • onOctober 19, 2016
  • Vol.33 Autumn 2016
  • byChoi Seung-Ho


I want to go on a picnic like a butterfly.
I want to go on a picnic like a butterfly.
A child who writes poetry and a peaceful man go on a picnic.
And on a day when a ball will roll in play
the peaceful man will cheer on the child
who tumbles to the ground but rises to run again.

Why a landslide in the dead of night
that smashes the houses in the valley?
Why a bear who assaults the village
and a mountain fire that spreads to the hills near the village?
In the dead of night, the sound of raised torches.
In the dead of night, the stir and commotion of the village.

In this village of hedgehogs
we all hone our quills.
Though the peaceful man locks his door
he will still be chased by the bear in his dreams.

We build our stone walls high
around the houses of the hedgehogs.
The peaceful man will sigh
and read Chuang-tsu in the long, howling winter night.

Translated by Won-Chung Kim and James Han