Two (Mis)translations


again alone last night,
in the wanderer’s house
cawcawing a crow stood on the night, weeping.

again how many whole steps
will lead me to where.

up to the mountain
to the field
no place bids me come, so i cannot go.

do not speak of my home,
a remote mountain in an untroubled land,
it too is a place reached by car and boat.

look at me, skyborn
wild geese,
is there a road paved in the hollow that you travel so sure?

look at me, skyborn
wild geese,
i stop at the heart of a perfect word.

even if the road
is splintering split with roads
no way is utterly mine.

by Kim Sowol (1902-1934), trans.  Ae Hee Lee