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World’s Morning

Sprouting scales, the straits came alive like a snake’s back, the youthful mountain ranges robed in colorful Arabian garb.

On the shore the wind was sleek like a swathe of Saracen silk, the arrogant landscape lay sprawled at the climax of seven in the morning.

Spraying old fragrance over the panting fields, the ringing of a church’s rusty bell. Calves go back to the fields. Again today a girl sees off a steamer heading out to sea.

A station close to the border. An international train stamping its feet, impatient for the conductor’s signal. At every window ladies’ twisted faces, weeping for unspoken farewells. Airliners have scattered like motes of dust in the air above the continent.

Members of a genteel family are heading for Geneva to test the quality of long-range radio broadcasts from home. Champagne. The deck. “Goodbye!” “See you soon!” The crew members entrust their sighs to the sirens and return to their stations. [End Page 159]

Colored ribbons fluttering from the wharf. The colored ribbon in that woman’s hair.

Homing pigeons set off from the cabin roof toward the capital city. ...East of Sumatra..... 5 kilometers out to sea . . . . Nobody among us has a cold. We are close to the equator. . . . . 10 a.m. on the 20th.... [End Page 160]

Kim Jong-Gil

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.



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pp. 159-160
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