The Cross

  • onDecember 21, 2017
  • Vol.38 Winter 2017
  • byYun Dong-ju
Sky, Wind and Stars
Tr. Kyung-nyun Kim Richards and Steffen F. Richards


The sun was following me,
but it is now caught on the cross
on top of the church.

How can I get up
that high on the steeple?

No sound comes from the bell:
I might as well whistle and hang around.

If I were permitted my own cross,
like the man who suffered,
blessed Jesus Christ,

I would hang my head
and quietly bleed
blood that would blossom like a flower
under a darkening sky.


Translated by Kyung-nyun Kim Richards and Steffen F. Richards
From Sky, Wind and Stars.
Copyright © 2003 by Kyung-nyun Kim Richards and Steffen F. Richards.
Reprinted with the permission of Jain Publishing Company, Fremont, California (

Author's Profile

Yun Dong-ju (1917–1945) graduated from Yeonhui College, Seoul, and moved to Tokyo for further studies where he was arrested on charges of participating in the anti-Japanese independence movement. He died from torture at Fukuoka Prison in 1945. A collection of his poetry was published posthumously in 1948 as Sky, Wind, and Stars. “Foreword” and “Self-Portrait” are among his most famous poems. Sky, Wind, and Stars has been published in the US, France, Spain, Russia, China, and Japan.