Selected Poetry from Someone Always in the Corner of My Eye

  • onMarch 22, 2018
  • Vol.39 Spring 2018
  • byShim Bo-Seon
Someone Always in the Corner of My Eye
Tr. YoungShil Ji & Daniel T. Parker




I enjoy
questions that are heavy and subtle as coffee at a funeral home:
When I gently caress someone,
will I feel sad if I put myself in that person’s place?
If solitude is always ready to welcome you,
is it false solitude?
Although life is composed of volatile moments
why is it so boring as a whole?
Does the body’s existence mean the mind has been cleansed
and shrouded alive?
Is my body sick so often because my mind wills it?
If someone opens a drawer and takes something out,
does the drawer feel like it’s vomiting?
If I were an object, who would look inside me?
Whenever I go up stairs, why do I think I want to eat them?
Each time I gasp, why do I think I want to stop breathing?
Today has come.
Will tomorrow?
Wind blows:
wind, be outrageous!
If I say that, omitting wind, will anyone be outrageous?
Having said that, omitting revolutions
will anything revolutionary happen?
And what other questions remain?
What questions, like coffee at a funeral home,
could shape this world to be so heavy and subtle?
And what other questions still puzzle children
and cause their rosy lips to endlessly mumble?






We make love
without knowing what we want,
surrounded by very bright or very dark air.

When we make love,
I whisper in your ear, glistening in silver-grey moonlight,
What are you afraid of now?
What are you thinking about now?

I love you. I confess to you three times.
Tee-hee-hee. Laughter rolls from your lips like falling pebbles.
A wisp of breeze that just brushed my face
will soon caress your face with completely different hands.

We met. We met several times.
Several times more, we made love,
love composed of ordinary emotions and humble desires.

I know. If we owned a bird
we’d very sadly
let it out the window this evening.
Then we’d giggle together.
Tee-hee-hee. With that strange image, we make love.

When we make love, we play with each other’s soul as if with
round pebbles.
But how can this happen
when we’re so disgusted with our individual souls?

When love-making is finished, finished, your hands will be moist
as the skin of a newborn baby that has yet to absorb its handful
of spirit. When I clasp your hands, I feel
your hands gradually grow thinner in my hands,
just like a small bird I’ve never owned.

You’ll fly away.
Don’t fly away.
You’ll fly away.



Someone Always in the Corner of My Eye
(White Pine Press, 2016), p. 20, pp. 57-58.
Trans. YoungShil Ji & Daniel T. Parker
Copyright © 2016 by White Pine Press.
Translation copyright © 2016 by Daniel Parker & YoungShil Ji.
Reprinted with permission from White Pine Press.

Author's Profile

Shim Bo-Seon made his debut when he won the Chosun Ilbo New Writer’s Contest in 1994. He has authored the poetry collections Fifteen Seconds without Sorrow, Someone Always in the Corner of My Eye, and Today, I’m Not So Sure and has co-authored the essay collections Today’s Progressive Ideas and Smoked Art. He has received the Nojak Literary Prize, Kim Jun-Sung Literary Award, and Kim Jong-sam Poetry Award. He is a professor of culture and arts management at Kyung Hee Cyber University. English translations of his books include Fifteen Seconds without Sorrow (Parlor Press, 2016) and Someone Always in the Corner of My Eye (White Pine Press, 2016).