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Subject FOR NIRVANA /Korean Seon(zen) Master Cho Oh-Hyun 雪嶽 霧山 曺五鉉-10
Name   관리자 Hit 191

FOR NIRVANA 
108 ZEN SIJO POEMS       


CHO OH-HYUN
  



 


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ntroductory by KWON YOUNGMIN



 


translated by HEINZ INSU FENKLE 



 


Associate professor of English and Asian studies at SUNY New Paltz.



 



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85



 


WANING LANDSCAPE



 


 



 


Are they weeping, or laughing, as they go



 


The geese from the reed forest flying in a flock



 


And the sky, the autumn sky, its throat sunk in the kill



 


 



 


86



 


AT THE TOMB OF KING SEONDEOK



 


 



 


Late fall flowers, blooming in the cold wind,



 


Look up to the pale daylight moon.



 


 



 


Your throne didn’t last a hundred years,



 


But the dirt you return to abides a thousand.



 


 



 


In the empty mountain where the scops owl cries,



 


Only a rain of pine needles pilling up.



 


 



 


 



 


87



 


FOREST



 


 



 


To live like that,



 


To go on living like that



 


 



 


Mountain forming valleys



 


To let the waters flow



 


 



 


And trees breeding insects



 


Under their rough bark



 


 



 


88



 


NEW SHOOTS



 


 



 


The sky, the eye’s light,



 


   Open once more at the point of breath,



 


 



 


An ember born again



 


   Where a star’s light glanced-



 


 



 


Today, at last, the green waves



 


   Of May come surging again.



 


 



 


89



 


EARLY SPRING



 


 



 


A plantain leaf, half the spring day



 


At my western window,



 


 



 


its image like calligraphy ink



 


bleeding into cheap draft paper-



 


 



 


rain drops fall into the blaze



 


of sunbeams in the valley of roof tiles.



 


 



 


 



 


 



 


90



 


THREE VIEWS OF SPRING



 


 



 


1.



 


The spring Purge



 


 



 


The fiery rashes in my crotch



 


Have caused my festering molars, all, to fall out-



 


My ignorance, wide as the sky, ah, that magical purge



 


 



 


2.



 


A History of spring



 


 



 


I cut my words with my tongue- a blade for beheading horses,



 


And even hallucinogenic mushrooms, which claimed my soul,



 


Are all budding like flowers on this dammed spring night



 


 



 


3.



 


Spring Riot



 


 



 


Thirsty-thirsty-even the nectar in the blossoms



 


Each passing spring withers my ever-diminishing life,



 


And this year it appears the flowers will come in one big riot



 


 



 


 



 


91



 


THE SOUND OF MY OWN CRY



 


 



 


In the woods at noon



 


I hear a bird cry out



 


 



 


On the shore, mid-morning,



 


I hear the gulls



 


 



 


When will I hear



 


The sound of my own cry?



 


 



 


92



 


ALL THE SAME AT JOURNEY’S END



 


 



 


Age: twelve



 


Identity: monk



 


 



 


Work till noon stomping the foot mill,



 


Split firewood till the sun goes down



 


 



 


Once a generation, hear the cry



 


Of a bird hiding out in the woods



 


 



 


Then ten years, twenty years,



 


Forty years pass, and today



 


 



 


Living on the mountain



 


Not seeing the mountain



 


 



 


And the sound of the bird’s cry?



 


I can’t even hear my own.



 


 



 


93



 


 



 


SCARECROW



 


 



 


He waves at the flocking birds,



 


At the man walking by-



 


This scarecrows, as he works for others, with a smile



 


 



 


A year of bounty, or a famine year,



 


Take a walk along the paddy dikes-



 


Mine, yours-



 


See the field, the autumn wind?



 


Not a sole possession, yet I, too, a smiling scarecrow



 


 



 


Is what they say I am,



 


But clear my mind, spread my two arms wide, and



 


Everything, even the sky-all just a single step away



 


 



 


94



 


DAYS  LIVING ON THE MOUNTAIN



 


 



 


Reached the age when I’m sick of it all.



 


My thoughts, too, knotty like the bones of my bent back,



 


Today I grabbed a stump about to fall over.



 


 



 


Day before yesterday, I went to see Master Hancheon at his temple



 


And asked him what made him want to go on living.



 


He couldn’t explain in words, so he told me to strike the



 


Cloud gong.



 


 



 


Now, really, the days living on the mountain-



 


One day crying like a bug in the grass,



 


One day laughing like a flower in the field,



 


Only to see it-the flow that ends the flow.



 


 



 


95



 


 



 


VAPORS



 


 



 


No way forward, no way back



 


Look around-in all directions, up and down-



 


   Empty sky and endless cliff



 


 



 


Funny



 


What I wandered all my life to find is a precipice



 


Finally at this cliff, where I must



 


   Toss down both life and death-



 


Vapors waft around to their heart’s content



 


Funny



 


That what I clung to all my life-nothing but vapors



 


 



 


96



 


 



 


MY LIFELINES



 


 



 


What I’ve been seeking all my life



 


Are the mainlines, the veins



 


Of Zen



 


& poetry



 


 



 


The conclusion I reached today-



 


Poetry is woodgrain, knotted,



 


& Zen is wood’s grain, straight



 


 



 


97



 


 



 


EMBERS(AFTERWORD)



 


 



 


-to my readers



 


 



 


These words I’ve spewed ‘til now-they’re all drivel.



 


Mouth ajar at last, as not to tread on earth or stone,



 


This body, infused with brass, in a molten fire.



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