Kim Kwang-kyu



                        North South East West


In spring a flood of tender green goes rising
spreading northward, northward.
Unhindered by barbed wire or military demarkation line
it journeys north.
Rising over mountains
crossing plains,
azaleas and forsythias cross the border north.
In summer the cuckoo's call,
the croak of frogs,
are just the same in every place.
In fall a flood of golden hues comes dropping
spreading southward, southward.
Unhindered by demilitarized zone or lines forbidding access
it journeys south.
Crossing rivers
passing over valleys
cosmos flowers and crimson leaves cross the border south.
In winter the taste of ice-cold pickle
the taste of spicy morning soup
are just the same in every place.
North South East West: making no distinction,
covering everywhere alike
in white, no one can keep back
the snowstorm.

                        –Korean; trans. Brother Anthony of Taize


Kim Kwang-kyu, Korean, trans. Brother Anthony of Taize, The Depths of a Clam: Selected Poems,
White Pine Press, 2005.