With sullen face he comes toward me, on staggering stumpy feet. Does he want to get acquainted with me? But the skin of my face is too transparent for his acquaintance, and his face looks too humane to be shunned. I think of the kind of language that would match his enormous mouth, a bold language. But mine, cunningly refined, is fit only to be rolled on the tip of my tongue.
On its too-long neck, it is an unearthly face. So I am surprised to find his face in some unexpected space. Again, I am bewildered when it descends from heaven to pick up a few biscuits.
Is eating a childlike, innocent act? Or is it a dirty, mean instinct? Surely the ostrich takes both sides. The naive boyish face and the selfish old face, hardened with red flesh. . .
This cursorial bird with its strange visage gazes at my eyes today. [End Page 151]
The moon goes Half across the branch Of pear blossoms:
Naedong-myon, Kyongju-gun Or Oedong-myon; Around the site of Pulguksa.
The moon goes Half across the branch Of pear blossoms. [End Page 152]
Kim Jong-gil is one of Korea’s leading twentieth-century poets and a prolific translator of many of the most important contemporary British and American poets into Korean, as well as of many Korean poets into English. His recent books of translation include Among the Flowering Reeds: Classic Korean Poems Written in Chinese. Kim is an emeritus professor of English at Korea University, in Seoul, and a member of the Korean Academy of Arts.