This translation by Jungmin Bae of a poem by Jo-Nyeon Lee (1269-1343) is one of two translations in Issue 4 by Jungmin Bae of a sijo, a traditional Korean three-line poem. The original Korean follows the translations.
Pear flowers illume moon-white
Pear flowers illume moon-white, a galaxy in midnight
The sentiments of spring on that branch, does the cuckoo know?
I sleep fitfully for this sickness, this tenderness of heart.
by Jo-Nyeon Lee (1269-1343), trans. Jungmin Bae
이화(梨花)에 월백(月白) 하고 은한(銀漢)이 삼경(三更)인 제
일지춘심(一枝春心)을 자규(子規)야 알랴마는
다정(多情)도 병(病)인 양하야 잠 못 들어 하노라.
About the Author
Jo-Nyeon Lee was born into the Goryeo Dynasty in 1269. He served the kingdom as a civil servant, during which he gained a reputation for being unwavering and forthright in speaking his opinions. For this his company was eschewed by some, but he nonetheless left behind many accomplishments thanks to his candid nature. He was famous for his poetry, which are still read today.
About the Translator
Jungmin Bae is a student in the international course at Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies. She enjoys reading and writing poetry and prose in Korean and English. Her prose has been recognized by the 2018 OddContest and her work is forthcoming in Aerie International. She is founder and editor-in-chief of Mirinae, her school’s literary magazine.