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Subject FOR NIRVANA /Korean Seon(zen) Master Cho Oh-Hyun 雪嶽 霧山 曺五鉉 -1
Name   관리자 Hit 171




FOR NIRVANA 



 




 


108 ZEN SIJO POEMS 



 


CHO OH-HYUN



 


 



 


 



 


 



 


introductory by KWON YOUNGMIN



 


translated by HEINZ INSU FENKL



 


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



 


 



 


 



 


1



 


BITTER FLOWER



 


    



 


in my younger days, my name



 


was wild apricot tree in a fertile field



 


   



 


bees and but butterflies, the jealous spring......



 


I did not know about flowers then;



 


  



 


but on the day that Suni



 


went over the wall,



 


I new that blood was red



 


 



 


 



 


2



 


DAYDREAM



 


  



 


White bellflower in the mountain



 


   dandelion in the meadow;



 


the faint memory of my birthplace



 


   -a pensive face in the well.



 


Just once, I want to see her again-Suni,



 


   who stood with her back to the outfield wall.



 


  



 


I do not know  if the light scent of wormwood



 


   has yet begun to rise



 


over that hill, where 10 li is such a long way;



 


   under the moon, too bright,



 


a small village secretively appears



 


   as I tread upon this indelible image.



 




 


This night-drink it and it does not fill,



 


   but memory's glass cannot be emptied.



 


It is a storage jar with a burning in the belly,



 


   somewhere, a spreading anxiety;



 


only echoes hang over the place



 


   where one awakens from sleep.



 




 


My life in this world-I've lived it badly to the last.



 


   But with the first water drawn from the well at dawn,



 


a single candle stick, and a bowl of rice,



 


  my mother's mother prayed over 



 


this prince who was not allowed to play



 


  beside the stone statue that day.   ​



 


 ​



 






 


3



 


DISTANCE HOLY MAN



 


 



 


Today, this one day



 


on this one day called today



 


I saw the whole of the sun rise



 


and saw it all set



 


 



 


Nothing more to see-



 


a swarm of gnats laying eggs, dying



 


 



 


I am still alive,



 


long past my time to die,



 


 



 


But consider-today, I don’t feel



 


as if I’ve lived even this single day



 


 



 


He may live a thousand years,



 


but the holy man



 


 



 


Is but a distance cloud of gnats



 


 



 


4



 


ELM TREE & MOON



 


 



 


she a dragonfly’s wings,



 


a filmy, rustling silk skirt,



 


and a peacock shaft,



 


a mole upon her body



 


 



 


rise high, shine far



 


rise high, shine far



 


 



 


5



 


DESIRE, DEEPER THAN THE MARROW



 


 



 


You can’t throw away an entire lifetime



 


Even for the sake of a god



 


 



 


Not rising, not sinking,



 


The mountain peony, just being,



 


 



 


Desire, deeper than the marrow,



 


Simply enfolded in its leaves



 


 



 


6



 


WHAT I’VE ALWAYS SAID



 


 



 


Love is the hand of a creeping vine,



 


green leaves that suck up



 


the taint of pollution, thye taint of death,



 


the bright-red liquid metal



 


rust-water



 


that flows beneath



 


a steel-frame rebar concrete wall;



 


it embraces the whole world all at once.



 


It’s a clutching clot of leaves.



 


Love is not talk-



 


it is the root of life.



 


You cannot name it, cannot draw the shape



 


of its heart and mind.



 


It is a clutching clot of leaves,



 


the dirty seed-leaf of the wild rose,



 


the bud-leaf of an oriental oak.



 


 



 


7



 


THE SOUND OF ANCIENT WOOD



 


 



 


One hears the sound of ancient wood



 


In the heart of an old tree



 


 



 


Only when the core is surely rotten



 


When all the straight limbs have snapped



 


 



 


And, naturally, some woody toxin



 


Remains in the crooked stump



 


 



 


8



 


THE DANCE & THE PATTERN



 


 



 


Late fall afternoon,



 


when death



 


crack-crackles underfoot,



 


 



 


sitting in a half-tub



 


of creek water,



 


I feel my forehead-



 


 



 


the thrum of ironing sticks



 


I’ve not heard



 


Since my mother passed.



 


 



 


9



 


SPRING



 


 



 


even April exhausted, all agleam



 


with its nightly rain-



 


my mother, knuckles bit and bloodied,



 


salved with wormwood-



 


why only azaleas blazing



 


on her grave?



 


 



 


flowers blown and faded till



 


the whole mountainside’s bruised



 


and over the pass to Shooting Star shrine



 


a cuckoo’s cry



 


rises up, fresh,



 


like a wound in the heart