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POETRY

Crow’s Eye View, Poem No. I

  • onNovember 16, 2014
  • Vol.22 Winter 2013
  • byYi Sang
The Complete Works of Yi Sang: Poetry (Vol.1)
2009
407pp.

13ChildrenRushdownaStreet.
(AdeadendalleyisSuitable.)


The1stChildsaysit’sfrightening.
The2ndChildsaysit’sfrightening.
The3rdChildsaysit’sfrightening.
The4thChildsaysit’sfrightening.
The5thChildsaysit’sfrightening.
The6thChildsaysit’sfrightening.
The7thChildsaysit’sfrightening.
The8thChildsaysit’sfrightening.
The9thChildsaysit’sfrightening.
The10thChildsaysit’sfrightening.


The11thChildsaysit’sfrightening.
The12thChildsaysit’sfrightening.
The13thChildsaysit’sfrightening.


13Childrenwerejustgatheredtogetherlikethataseither
frighteningorfrightenedChildren(Theabsenceofanyother
Conditionwashighlypreferable.)


IfAmongstthem1ChildisafrighteningChildit’sfine.
IfAmongstthem2ChildrenarefrighteningChildrenit’sfine.
IfAmongstthem2ChildrenarefrightenedChildrenit’sfine.
IfAmongstthem1ChildisafrightenedChildit’sfine.


(AsfortheroadevenanopenalleyisSuitable.)
Evenif13ChildrendonotRushdowntheStreetit’sfine

 

* Translated by Walter K. Lew.
** The work entitled "Crow’s Eye View" consists of Poems 1 to 15, which were originally published in separate installments. The Chinese character for “crow” in the title "Crow’s Eye View" is widely known to be an altered version of the character for “bird.” A bird’s eye view (鳥瞰圖) is an expression referring to a representation of a building viewed from above, usually a blueprint. Yi removed a single stroke from the first character “bird (鳥)” to make “crow (烏)” giving the phrase a new meaning with darker connotations. The poems were published in the Joseon Joongang Ilbo over the period from July 24th until August 8th, 1934. With the aim of deconstructing poetic meaning and creating it anew, Yi departed from poetic convention, bringing symbols and diagrams into play, and using terse, repetitive statements.

Author's Profile

Yi Sang (1910–1937) is Korea’s representative writer of the 1930s. His books have been published by France’s Zulma, Russia’s Hyperion, Spain’s Verbum, and Germany’s Literaturverlag Droschl. English editions of his works include Muae 1WingsCrow’s Eye View: The Infamy of Lee Sang, Korean Poet; and Three Poets of Modern Korea: Yi Sang, Hahm Dong-seon and Choi Young-mi.