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  • Censuring Snoes, and: Herrings, and: Flies, and: A Lamentation for My Wife, from Afar in Banishment, and: A Rustic Hamlet, and: On Behalf of Monk Grass-Coat, I Respond to "Buddha's Birthday Should Be the Eigth of the Second Moon, and: Presented Playfully to Mr. Oh, Beseeching Him Not to Leave in the Rain, and: A Poem Playfully Presented to Cho Kong-NYE, and: Seeing Off the Magistrate of Chik-san District, and: To Show Monk Grass-Coat after Silvery Fish Were Stolen by Rats, and: Presented to Monk Grass-Coat
  • Kim Chŏng-hŭi

Censuring Snores

    I've always hated those who snore    Near me for disturbing my restful sleep.    Unbearable misery deep inside4 Feeds my angst, causing even more misery.    They breathe out like cartwheels    Pushed and pulled through craggy hills.    Sluggish inhaling, as if choking on a fishbone,8 Is like diligent snuffling at rotten food for an odor.    Violent upsurges cram into the brain,    And sharp outbursts drill through the face.    I worry all along that the rafters might fall,12 And even fear that the mountain might shake.    Lying back, they are fearsome as the Humpback of Lu,    Hunched over, they are shy as the Fairy of Chu.    Some are abrupt as if splitting hardwood,16 So stubborn that the sawteeth tremble.    Some gush as if from a bottle held upside down,    With rapid waves spilling through the gullet.    A haltered cow huffing and puffing in sweat,20 Caged dogs barking unceasingly in a rant,    A sand shrimp angrily glaring at a crab, [End Page 131]     Flies bumping on your cap, or piercing a paper window,    A cicada, the wronged Lady of Qi, sobbing on the willow,24 A scrawny rat of Zhou gnawing the bamboo mat,    A swarm of flies chasing after a stench,    A lone mosquito shattering the silent darkness,    Birds tweeting by an upended chariot,28 Frightened fish in a flooding river,    An ant stringing beads through winding paths,    A flip-flapping rooster calling at cockcrow,    Roaring thunder rolling through an empty ravine,32 A circling whirlwind swooping down into a deep pit,    A hailstorm rattling in a dry forest,    Sleet falling on a desolate cottage,    The gentle washing of grains,36 A bubbling boil of congee,    A spinning wheel reeling a fine thread,    And scissors swiftly ripping brocade cloth.    Like moans of pain,40 Like sleep-talking in a nightmare,    Like guzzling at a river after sunstroke,    Like gobbling food between toils in the field,    Like a cry of unjust blessings,44 Like a wail of censoring complaints,    Like a stream of chatter inside the folding screen,    Like a rage over demotion,    Like uncontrollable laughter at a ditched carriage,48 Like clearing the throat after swallowing a grudge,    Like sonorous words that reach afar,    Like a flash of lightning casting an oracle,    Like the jingling sound of a strummed zither,52 Like crimson bells in a hollow hall,    Like a Buddhist chant in the Heng Mountain    Containing both joy and sorrow,    Like a fairy whistle in the Su School [End Page 132] 56 Contouring woods and cliffs,    Like falling to combers of bellowing hell    Where the cow-headed shudder with cold and fear,    Like flames in a burning mansion60 Where hungry ghosts cry out in starvation,    Like barbarians of the Eastern Roman Empire    Panting in the roaring blaze,    Like a kid of the Luoyue tribe64 Bathing in the river, mimicking elephants drinking,    Like having swallowed three buckets of vinegar    With the acid taste stabbing through the bones,    Like having eaten three pecks of scallions68 With ferocious venom tossed up from the gallbladder.    Valiant snores startle the old Legalist,    And tumble out to laugh at the serene Buddhists.    Sinking into the dark land of sweet dreams,72 The breaths cross a thousand years to feel one another.    Disparate though in the same tiny hole,    Myriad sounds differ in character.    Even with breadth and depth of knowledge76 It's hard to know them all, one by one.    I've heard the Daoist teaching,    That the face droops when filled with breath.    A gulp of air is worth a thousand pieces of gold,80 Let...