Korean Poetry: “Evening Snow”

Words By Pak  Yong-Nae

Translated by Brother Anthony of Taize (An Sonjae). Used with permission.

Commentary by Dr. Robert Grotjohn

저녁눈

늦은 저녁때 오는 눈발은 말집 호롱불 밑에 붐비다

늦은 저녁때 오는 눈발은 조랑말 발굽 밑에 붐비다

늦은 저녁때 오는 눈발은 여물 써는 소리에 붐비다

늦은 저녁때 오는 눈발은 변두리 빈터만 다니며 붐비다

Evening Snow

Snowflakes falling in late evening throng beneath the oil lamp of a wide-eaved house

Snowflakes falling in late evening throng beneath a pony’s hooves

Snowflakes falling in late evening throng to the sound of fodder being chopped

Snowflakes falling in late evening throng only round outlying empty lots.

 

In the anaphora of this poem, Pak (Park) Yong-Nae (1925-1980) captures the visual rhythms of falling snow in the evening lights as he gives a brief picture of an earlier time in Korea. Readers of American poetry might want to compare this with Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Both poems seem to suggest the possible lonesomeness of a silent, snowy evening.

From Brother Anthony’s online collection of his translations. Used with permission.

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