Selected Poetry from Fifteen Seconds without Sorrow
- onMarch 22, 2018
- Vol.39 Spring 2018
- byShim Bo-Seon
- Fifteen Seconds without Sorrow
Tr. Chung Eun-Gwi & Brother Anthony of Taizé 2016
Fifteen Seconds without Sorrow
Above a distant high-rise apartment
the sun is beating its breast,
at its wits’ end beside the daytime moon.
Where shame is concerned, the world went to the dogs long ago.
Sometimes about fifteen seconds pass without sorrow.
Offering every possible excuse,
paths are bending everywhere.
The silence gathering on dusky sidewalks
hopes to grow older there by the second.
As they grow older, all beings leak when it rains.
All old beings that leak
dream of love like installing a new roof.
Everyone knows: whatever happens
was bound to turn out as it did.
One afternoon as the sun is squeezing out light with all its might,
the past goes walking backward and falls headlong
over the apartment railings. The future follows immediately after.
The present, being simply a flower’s day, a flower’s day
being the time it takes a flower to bloom and fall, is sad.
A cat is happily nibbling flower petals.
A woman is sipping chamomile tea.
They seem quiet and peaceful.
I stand aimlessly in the middle of the street.
A man passes by on a bicycle, weeping.
He is a human being destined to fall in the end.
The dream-garden in my head where dizziness is in full bloom.
Now about fifteen seconds have passed without sorrow.
I should set off somewhere,
but no matter where, ultimately, it’s a disappearing path.
I Laugh, I Have To
Since father died,
there has been no high-flown talk in our family.
But under the blue fluorescent light,
my mom’s basic English has improved day by day.
My mom asks me, What does ‘nation’ mean?
It means ‘people’; it was a word Father liked a lot.
Ask me anything you like.
Does ‘Tom and Jerry’ mean ‘cat and mouse’?
Ha-ha-ha, you joke more often as you get older.
I am the interpreter.
I am the oldest son who laughs loudly.
Even if tragedy strikes again,
even if there is no salvation anywhere,
I have to interpret exactly
and, finally, laugh loudly.
As the eldest son, simply as the eldest son,
I’ll fight on until the bitter end
with our family’s aimless, vague emotions,
unsure if they’re pathos, or grief, or pity.