Selected Poems

  • onSeptember 25, 2017
  • Vol.37 Autumn 2017
  • byChyung JinKyu
The Big Sister of Objects

A Joseon Moss Rose

I see the inner flesh of sounds I see not only the arrows flying off but also the flock of arrows making its way back They seem as one body There are no separate turns in the movements of myself and you There’s no schedule set aside in the operation of love So it is all there Yet it’s never too crowded it surprises us The ultra-high speeds that plow the space between you and me left no trace of the lines that they drew Light is the sharpest in the whole world “Diamond hewed with an iron hatchet sharpened and sharpened then quenched ice-quenched,”* ye flock of light-thieves flying away flying over all on thine own Thou sunlight, how mistful it is this morning of sunrise I hear whistling arrows I hear the sound of flesh melding Is there a need for the small Joseon moss rose now in bloom to tell that all it takes is a split second When have they all bloomed on their own and are now heaped up in the world so densely as they are

* In response to Venerable Ohyeon’s Simudo.





Darkness all night fed the morning and dews are feeding the lawn of daybreak Who is it that day after day feeds the poppy garden with flower-meals seasoned so perfectly I’ve come back to my birthplace where feeding the grandfather clock was the morning routine of my childhood And again I’ve come to start each day by prepping breakfast and such for my family I fed the puppy as well and filled up the pot with water for the water lilies in the garden I also fed the lettuce the peppers in the backyard and the gaps of serenity that’s sprung up rather noticeably All through the springtime



The Big Sister of Objects

Amongst all direct underlings there by rule is a number one underling, a confidante The big sister of all objects naturally exists The little sisters too loyally smile along The Buddha’s direct underlings, the gangs, are diligently asking for alms on the side of the road chanting ‘Form is emptiness, emptiness is form’ The big Zelkova’s direct underlings, the leaves that have been burst by only the first sunlight of each morning by only the first water heaped up, solemnly create a majestic shade with their emerald diamonds The air’s direct underlings, the breaths of inhalation and exhalation which burrow into even the tiniest of holes, are creating deep furrows The evening sunset’s direct underling spreads its colors of speed drawing up a gust of the migrating finches’ direction The China pink’s direct underling, solely with a single layer of petals until the early snowy winter, quietly carries the love’s bylane guarding the street corner of the one who wouldn’t arrive My own direct underlings, the winds, repeatedly tumble forward at the plain where dry grass becomes hollow with its entire being I’m filled with a sense of imminence at such a time as this D’you know what’s getting near Hey big sister, little sisters of objects, you flowering true nature you



Water Lilies

The flower blooming by the virtue of closing serenity, I saw the hand that invisibly sewed up each flower that burst When the high noon passes water lilies without fail clamp their lips together Thou closing flower, thou flower blooming by the virtue of thy closure Thou bursting serenity, thou dagger of serenity



Two Groves of Newly-Planted Crape Myrtle

I said sure come live with me yet I’m hastily pulling the horsetails plantains golden saxifrages springing up all over It’s for I’m still guarded with many latches, and for knowing how hard it is to pull them once the soil dries up My defense is trained to such a degree I suffocate the space and skies of the trees by planting new groves every year That too is for I’m bound by the bliss of desire while I say what I want is the bliss of freedom When will I ever let the emptiness be, leave it as it is For the past couple of days something’s been up with the two groves of crape myrtle that I planted last spring Amazing, abloom they enchant me Have they finally unlatched the gate Have they burst the suffocating sky Is it a revolution Are they teaching me the bliss of freedom Is it the bliss of desire that’s been locked within me I see I’m receiving a clue for yet another layer of wisdom I feel hot inside my body


On a Snowy Evening

Fresh cessation has been laid out white in layers for three days Now that it’s erased afar to the corners, an evening that becomes poetry without a wait shall soon arrive Thou snowfall shoring even the grave of death white, thou fresh cessation After a truly long time I’m caressing the inner flesh of loneliness in gratitude Loneliness is being infinitely multiplied



Translated by Won Ahrim

Author's Profile

Chyung JinKyu In a career spanning five decades, Chyung JinKyu has published more than twenty volumes of poetry, for which he has received a number of awards including the Yi Sang Literary Award and the Manhae Literature Prize. Chyung has also served as a professor of creative writing at Hanyang Women’s University and chairman of the Society of Korean Poets in the past, and has been heading Contemporary Poetics as the editor-in-chief for thirty years. A translated collection of his poems entitled Tanz der Worte was published in Germany by Abera in 2006.