bookmark_borderPost-381: Southern California observations; Anaheim, Robber’s Peak, Orange

Nov. 2019: I passed through California for about five days.

(Observations about Southern California with pictures, and some springboarding off of them.)

Places I spent at least some time were: Van Nuys; the Santa Ana River trail in Orange County; Anaheim and “Anaheim Hills;” Orange (the city of); Santa Barbara. On a previous visit (late Aug. 2018), I went to Huntington Beach.

Leaving Southern California, north to Silicon Valley, I spent time in: San Jose; Palo Alto; the Stanford campus; Menlo Park; Redwood City. (Another post, maybe.)


Friday early morning. I arrive at the airport from points east (Korea, by way of a long layover in Hawaii) and am soon on the bus to LA Union Station. Or am I? I am not. I got on the wrong bus. It was not labeled. It came to the place marked LA Union Station; I decide to take this new opportunity. and follow the shuttle bus where it goes. New destination: Van Nuys.

Continue reading “Post-381: Southern California observations; Anaheim, Robber’s Peak, Orange”

bookmark_borderPost-351: “Falling Flower Petals” [Korean Poem, My Translation]

내가 최근에 알게된《낙화》라는 감동적인 시를 한번 영어로 번역해보겠다. 우선 이 시를 소개한 사람한테 고맙다고 하고 싶다. 감사해요, M씨.

이 시를 쓴 시인의 이름은 이형기(李炯基)다. 진주에서 1933년에 태어났고 1956년에 동국대학교를 졸업하고 2005에 돌아가셨다. 검색해봤더니 낙화라는 시가 1963년에 출판한 것 같다. (그런데 출판년보다는 언제 처음 쓴 것을 알고 싶다…) 이 시의 내용을 이해하기가 좀 어렵긴 어려운데 사실 모국어로도 그런거죠. 당연, 보통 길 아니고 시 때문이죠. 나 같은 번역하려고 하는 사람이 꼼꼼하게 최선을 다할 수 있지만, 이중적 의미를 갖는 원래 나온 단어와 표현들이 같은 뉘앙스로 번역할 수 없는게 분명하다. 아무튼, 어찔 수 는 것이다. 내가 최선을 다했다. 내가 번역한 것을 읽으실 분께도 고마워요.

I am translating a poem by a Korean poet named Lee Hong-Ki (1933-2005). The poem’s name in Korean is “Nak-Hwa” (낙화, 落花, these characters meaning “fall” and “flower”). This is entirely my own translation with the help of various dictionaries.


낙화 / 이형기 시인


가야 할 때가 언제인가를
분명히 알고 가는 이의
뒷모습은 얼마나 아름다운가.

봄 한철
격정을 인내한
나의 사랑은 지고 있다.


분분한 낙화……
결별이 이룩하는 축복에 싸여
지금은 가야 할 때,

무성한 녹음과 그리고
머지않아 열매 맺는
가을을 향하여

나의 청춘은 꽃답게 죽는다.
섬세한 손길을 흔들며
하롱하롱 꽃잎이 지는 어느 날

나의 사랑, 나의 결별,
샘터에 물 고이듯 성숙하는
내 영혼의 슬픈 눈. 


Falling Flower Petals
By Lee Hyong-Ki [1963]

To know, with certainty,
when it’s time to go.
Now that is a thing of true beauty to behold.

My love has long persevered
through passions,
but is now, as the petals of a flower,
descending to the earth.

Oh, that sweet fragrance of falling petals….
With kind words, it is ended. Farewell.
The time to go is now.

Behold, greenery and lush shade,
There will soon be fruit for the taking,
as the autumn is coming.

My youth, much like a flower, dies.
One fine day, as we part ways,
I see the waving of a delicate hand,
and the falling, one after another,
of flower petals.

My love, the parting of ways.
What is left is as tranquil as a pool of still water.
The sad eyes of my matured soul look on.


이형기 시인 / Poet Lee Hyong-ki, 1960s?

bookmark_borderPost-347: “Self-Portrait” by Yun Dong-Ju [Korean Poem, Translated]

I had the pleasure of learning the name Yun Dong-Ju (윤동주) last week. A movie is now out about him and I had the good fortune to see it (the less fortunate part was how little I understood). Yun Dong-Ju is, it seems, one of the most beloved Korean poets of the 20th century. He also has a romantic and “political” (one might say) cachet to the present-day Korean mind because of his early death in a Japanese prison in February 1945 at age 27.

I have decided to translate one of Yun Dong-Ju’s poems called Self-Portrait, though I might prefer to translate the title also as Portrait of the Artist. It was written in 1939 and was included by the author in a collection he published with limited circulation in 1941. The collection was republished in 1948 following the author’s death and the deceased Yun Dong-Ju became a kind of poet folk hero, it seems.

The below is my own translation. I increasingly find Korean poetry beautiful for its disciplined use of language and layers of implied meanings, but this also makes it a real challenge to translate smoothly.

Self Portrait has an air of mystery to it. Two characters. Thick symbolism. In reading it, many questions come up. This is a self-portrait, is it? Which character is the author? Both? I suppose that is up to us to decide…


Yun Dongju [1917-1945] / Poet
[Translated by Me, April 2016]

On my solitary way down from a rocky outcropping,
I seek out a secluded well for a little peek inside.

Inside the well: A bright moon, drifting clouds,
a spread-out sky. A blue breeze blows. It is autumn.

There is also this strapping young lad.
For reasons unclear to me, I feel that I hate this lad.
I turn away to leave and proceed on my way.
Presently, I begin to take pity on the lad.
I go back for another look.
There he is again, still there, just as before.
Again I feel that I hate this lad, and again I take my leave.
Walking away, I come to realize something. I yearn for the lad.

Inside the well: A bright moon, drifting clouds,
a spread-out sky. A blue breeze blows. It is autumn.
As from the recesses of fond memory, there is, also, this lad.

Original Korean:

윤동주 [1917-1945] / 시인

산모퉁이를 돌아 논가 외딴 우물을
홀로 찾아가선 가만히 들여다봅니다.

우물 속에는 달이 밝고 구름이 흐르고
하늘이 펼치고 파아란 바람이 불고
가을이 있습니다.

그리고 한 사나이가 있습니다.
어쩐지 그 사나이가 미워져 돌아갑니다.
돌아가다 생각하니 그 사나이가 가엾어집니다.
도로 가 들여다보니 사나이는 그대로 있습니다.

다시 그 사나이가 미워져 돌아갑니다.
돌아가다 생각하니 그 사나이가 그리워집니다.

우물 속에는 달이 밝고 구름이 흐르고
하늘이 펼치고 파아란 바람이 불고
가을이 있고 추억처럼 사나이가 있습니다.


Poster for “Dong-Ju” (2016). Yun Dong-Ju is on the left, without glasses. The actor bears a strong resemblance to the real person.