Monday, July 23, 2007

"Empty Ocean" by Jeong Ho-seung

Going to visit, no place to go
Coming back, no place to come back to
Leaving again, no place to leave for
Though I live, there's no living
Though I die, there's no dying
In the empty ocean
wrapped in a dawn sea-fog, a typhoon gone by
one mustard seed floats.

I'd love to see the Korean original.

The above is from a music program my parents gave me. While I was in the States, they went to see a Korean musician named Jang Sa-ik, whose musical style might best be called "fusion" because it incorporates modern Western rhythms and the traditional music of the old Korean court. It's a fascinating sound; I wish I had asked my folks to buy me a CD. The program is full of poetry; I assume the poems are translations of the lyrics used in Jang's songs. "Empty Ocean" is the first poem in the program.

I just thought the above poem would be a serene chaser after the tumult of the Marmot's comment threads.



Anonymous said...

- 정 호 승

찾아가보니 찾아온 곳 없네
돌아와보니 돌아온 곳 없네
다시 떠나가보니 떠나온 곳 없네
살아도 산 것이 없고
죽어도 죽은 것이 없네
해미가 깔린 새벽녘
태풍이 지나간 허허바다에
겨자씨 한 알 떠 있네

--M. Miller

Anonymous said...

You living in Korea, why would your parents in US buy you a Jang Sa-ik CD? Jang is indeed great, and he is admired also by non-Koreans of all political persuasions, from Kotaji to Robert (of Marmot's Hole) and me somewhere between them.
In case you want to check Jang's recordings before heading to a music store, this site has Jang's four first albums as mp3s.

Thanks also for inspiring me to resume blogging after more than one month's hiatus, with this translation of Jeong's poem.