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  • The Solitude of the Dying, and: Thoughts on the Sound of Water, and: Thorny Lotus, and: Black Bile, and: In the Darkness
  • Five Poems by Cho Yong-Mee
    Translated by Krys Lee (bio)

The Solitude of the Dying

Over the reservoir, the ice soared.The water can’t accept the mountain’s shadow.Each time the wind wildly swept the hailover the reservoir, a white road appeared, disappeared.He walked across the waterwhile calculating his wound’s depth by the thickness of the ice.His hand fumbling near his heart halted there.

He couldn’t reach the water.From where he guessed was the middle of the reservoir,a wound that wouldn’t closesuddenly soared up.From outside of the water, he became a part of the reservoir.He became the water’s surface.Inside the water was his face with its inscrutable expressions.He couldn’t go into the water;and he couldn’t walk on the water. [End Page 237]

At night, the reservoir emits cries.He is standing above it,and as his body cools,slowly he becomes the reservoir.The reservoir becomes a part of him.The reservoir that cries at nightisn’t far from home. [End Page 238]

Thoughts on the Sound of Water

The sound of water is tall, short, bright, dark, rich, light, deep,    shallow, thick, thin, coarse, soft, dense, sparse, serene, noisy,    clear, cozy …Even if it appears as if the regular rhythms of water’s chords vary    and repeat, and are heard, and I hear them,I can’t place those notes one by one on my palm.

The flow of my body’s cells is no different from the water’s cosmic    rhythms; I should listen carefully to my body again.Beyond the body now, I no longer ask myself what I can do or what    I can know.

When the sound of water was at its brightest, I began to hear.When I realized that sound also has light, darkness, and shadows,at the point where light and darkness cross,

where my lazy ponderings finally grasp the water’s chiaroscuro,the sound of water enters the body’s capillaries and subtly shifts to    a different rhythm and timbre. [End Page 239]

Thorny Lotus

A typhoon passes and a thorny lotus pierces the fleshy leavesof its mother’s body and shoots to the water’s surface.A flower splits the sea urchin-like thorny bud as hard as a kerneland slowly sticks out its black-purple tongue.I want to pull out all the thorns from the lotuswith its awful, plant-like qualities,too much like a flower not to call it a flower, and look inside,so I pace back and forth on the bank for a long time.

Only after drinking all the animal blood flowing through the    leaves’ red veinsthe flower blooms like a scream.The bank at the furthest edge of the marsh slowly prepares to be    destroyed.It alone hearsthe cracking that is silence to others,those black-purple tongues of the thorny lotus. [End Page 240]

Black Bile

There are times when the heart secretes bile. Liquid spurts out after    winding through the body.

When the paths, like the veins of a leaf, collect into a black stream,    a black river emerges.

The rivulets collect at the cliff and become a waterfall. They divide    the depths of the heart and fall like ink onto muslin.

The waterfall is made of black bile.

Your offense was trying to tame grief. Grief, which has never once    been tamed, gives a long, coarse sigh and lies still under the    scorched sun.

That black bile can collect and divide life like a sword! Under the    black waterfall, everything shatters and becomes foam. Can the    empty beauty of fluttering foam rescue you?

Grief will not be tamed.

Because your offense was trying to tame grief, where hallucination    ends and destruction begins, life begins again. The black bile    collecting and falling into the black river is beautiful. I call this    beauty the greatest lie on earth.

The world’s greatest lie...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-6500
Print ISSN
1939-6120
Pages
pp. 237-242
Launched on MUSE
2015-06-05
Open Access
No
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