This translation by Jungmin Bae of a poem by Sang Moon Seong (1418-1456) 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.
Of this expired flesh
As for what will come of this expired flesh,
I aspire to be expansive pine, highest peak of Bongnaesan
Alone verdant when all is smothered in snow.
by Sang Moon Seong (1418-1456), trans. Jungmin Bae
이 몸이 주거 가셔
이 몸이 주거 가셔 무어시 될꼬 하니.
봉래산(蓬萊山) 제일봉에 낙락장송(落落長松) 되야 이서
백설이 만건곤(滿乾坤)할 제 독야청청(獨也靑靑) 하리라.
About the Author
Sang Moon Seong was a government official in the early Joseon Dynasty. He was famed for his steadfastness in holding on to his promises and beliefs. He disapproved of King Sejo, as he had usurped the throne, and tried to start a movement to restore King Danjong, his predecessor, a crime he was executed for. Today he is remembered as one of the sayuksin, or six martyred ministers, for his sacrifice.
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.