To Draw a Road

  • onOctober 23, 2015
  • Vol.29 Autumn 2015
  • byRa Heeduk
Time When Words Return


Though it is not certain whether he drew the tree to draw the road
or drew the road to draw the tree,
or if he drew the road
to draw the shadow of the tree,
the road and the tree have become the wall and the floor to one another.
The green shadow was hurled onto the road,
the road could have a fine pattern of leaves,
and the tree stands absent-mindedly as if unloaded of its burden.
Who can cut off this peace?
But sometimes the axe of time
cuts down trees on the road;
I cannot write down
the shivering of the leaves and all their cries.
Some of the roads he drew bear scars from logging,
which makes me stay longer
and follow the winding, disappearing road to the end.
To draw a road,
you have to first think of the horizon of the mind
and look at the end of the landscape,
all the way to that desolate vanishing point.
I plan to get there, one step at a time.

Translated by Kim Won-Chung


Author's Profile

Ra Heeduk has authored eight poetry collections, including A Disappeared Palm (2004), three essay collections, and two volumes of literary criticism. Her collections in translation include Scale & Stairs (2006), Wild Apple (2011), and Le ver à soie marqué d'un point noir (2017). She participated in the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program in 2007. Ra teaches creative writing at Chosun University.