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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 469

 


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