Love Song for Hangyeryeong Ridge*

  • onOctober 18, 2016
  • Vol.33 Autumn 2016
  • byMoon Chung-hee

Passing over the Hangyeryeong Ridge in winter
with someone unforgettable
I find myself wishing for a blizzard
though the news rushes to let us know
that prosperity is here after decades of want
cars flaunting their pride of place
I want to be stuck here in the make-believe grip of Hangyeryeong Ridge
Ah — dazzling isolation
a fairyland cloaked in white
let my fate, not my feet be bound here
At last the day darkens, the richness
turns to fear, reality
starts to soak up its color
yet I wouldn’t wave my hands
even if a helicopter flew over
Even if helicopters scatter food for
the birds and wild animals trapped deep in the snow…
Once the helicopters scattered black shrapnel
down on young men’s hearts
even if the same helicopters dropped food for deer or pheasants
widely and generously
I wouldn’t let my clothes give me away
Gladly trapped on lovely Hangyeryeong Ridge
I’d wonder how to cope in that momentary first bliss of my life

Translated by Clare You


* Han-gye-ryeong is the highest point of several ridges dividing the western and eastern regions of Gangwon Province on the east coast of the Korean peninsula.



Author's Profile

Moon Chung-hee is a poet and Endowed Chair Professor at Dongguk University. She has won prestigious awards such as the Sowol Poetry Award, the Chong Chi-Yong Literature Prize, the Mogwol Literature Prize, and Sweden’s Cikada Prize. She has participated in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. English editions of her books include WindflowerWoman on the Terrace, and I Must Be the Wind.