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  • Five Poems by An Heeyeon
  • An Heeyeon
    Translated by Eun-Gwi Chung (bio) and Brother Anthony of Taize (bio)

A White Space

There is someone who rises in front of my eyes brushing away the soil smudged on his trousersas soon as I write that he trips over a stone and falls.

I look at himas he stands there for a long while then vanishesand realize that the face I couldn't finish drawing has more expressions.

He opens the door at odd times and enters the room.

Saying it was a dreadful blizzard,he flops down onto the hot floor in search of heatthen coming back again coated with mud,he smashes the window and shouts:"Why don't you know how to have happy thoughts?"

How many fingernail traces there are in a word called a cliff,How much darker it should be in the flooded stairway,greetings beyond visibility I am curious about. [End Page 259] He sets off for the pole instead of me,I imagine the next scene of the people sitting around the round table.

I wish to have just one bookin which nothing is written.

Night,riding a swing that seems about to collapse if I open my eyes,

I make a new sideonce every second. [End Page 260]

Volcanic Island

After chopping down every tree in sight

I dig into the ground.I am going to sow some real trees.

Did you see it too? The thing standing before the suspended face?The thing blowing out both eyes like candlesthen shaking the tree's leaves while passing?

The dog holding the shoes that used to squirm in his mouthis staring at me.

Who can be whistling all the time like that?I saw it too. A tree swallowing up someone from head to toe.I am learning how to speak without any trace of evil.And that dog's eyes are full of prayers.

On turning round after setting the whole tree on firetoday is my birthday."I needed solitude as much as bread."*Times when I hear voices roaming through the airafter sticking a torn sheet of paper back together.

Now I am someone who knows the height at which a neck breaks.The summer has become a summer that has to be looked into,this hand has become a hand that cannot be washed. [End Page 261] When I wake up I shall find I have a new tree.That tree will bear hours when nobody is crying.Kneeling down

I recalled, with great effort, the quiet fishbowl but could do nothing aboutthe overlapped face covered in blood just behind it. [End Page 262]

A Letter from Godthab*

I like the words chopping boards with some blood left and the word opposite.

Today I gathered up birds with broken ankles and made a bouquet.

Flushed, squashy faces,just see those babies puffing.How easy it is to become furtive.My flower pot is growing well, holding a lethal dose of shadows.

Beyond the window snow is falling tediously.

Stopping to put dry firewood in the fireplaceI think about pure white ruination,lakes, footprints, voices…roofless things got completely buriedbut how much fencing do we need in order to understand a rose?Only uninvited letters knock at the door.

It's a matter of hanging up an empty frame then waiting,since there's no knowing if they will come back.There's no knowing if daybreak will have entereda glass bottle containing scraped-off fish scales.

All night long stars are busy falling headlong.

Just as music you have never heard emerges when you switch on your knee. [End Page 263]

When you receive this letterI might be stirring the graves of dead birds with a bright yellow ladle. [End Page 264]

A Stone's Garden

A child came visiting

and opened me,

saying that no plant could grow here anymore.He kept tugging at my sleeve, eager to go outside.

Going over the white fence, we went to the forest I've never seen.

It was...


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pp. 259-269
Launched on MUSE
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