Kim Hyesoon Poems

Hit Title Date Added
Sand Woman

A woman was lifted from the sand.
She was perfectly intact, not even a split hair.

When he left they say she didn't eat or sleep.
She didn't die
although she kept her eyes shut
kept her breath held.

People came and took her.
They stripped her and placed her in saltwater
spread her legs cut her hair and opened up her chest.

They say he died in battle
so she ran far away from home
holding her breath.
She wouldn't let it out into the world
and wouldn't open her eyes though knives flew in and out of her.

They sewed her up, laid her in a glass casket.
The man she was waiting for never came,
though fingers came at her from all directions.

Each day I looked down and watched
the buried woman lifted from the sand,
her two hands dumped on paper.
I wanted to take a camel and go far away.

The woman followed me in every dream
and her shut eyes would open in a flash.
Under her eyelids it was deeper, wider than the desert's night sky.


It was like I was inside the black-and-white photo of you looking back.
We stared at each other from different worlds.

It was always cold inside this photo of you.
Trees stood all along the river, coughing and coughing.

Whenever I opened my eyes, I was climbing a snowy mountain.

I would barely turn a corner and find fields of pure-white snow,
and an infinity of precipices jutting out beneath sharp cliffs.

There was an evening when I looked into your eyes, wide like a frozen sky.

In the village, a rumor spread about a ghost who would return to spread a fever,
so smokestacks shook their bodies helter-skelter over every chimney.

I drove you out completely. Now none of you lives inside me.

An avalanche shook inside my chest for over an hour.

When the trees coughed and snow fell off their bodies,
icicles shot up violent in the empty valley.

I sat down on a frozen bench
with my lips trembling and the wind across my face.

I wanted to get out of this place - this photo of you looking back.


Get submerged
Get submerged in the blazing sun
Get submerged in the rippling blazing sun
Hear something as I get submerged in the rippling blazing sun
Hear something then don't hear then hear again as I get submerged in the rippling blazing sun
It's like the voice of someone confessing while shaking softly boiling sand
It's the voice I have wanted to hear for a thousand years
Hear something then don't hear then hear again then don't again as I get submerged in the rippling blazing sun
Lie down
Lie down on the floor of the blazing sun
Lie down on the cold floor of the blazing sun
It is so hot that the cold floor of the blazing sun sweats
The sweat of the cold floor of the blazing sun is like a knife blade
Among the knife-like drops of sweat from the cold floor of the blazing sun the tiny knives that are barely visible beat against my ears
The sound of knocking on the eardrums doesn't tear the eardrums that are about the tear
The faraway beating sound comes from faraway, faraway like an echo
Let me in, let me in, let me in the sound is so faint that it pleads with its needle-like hands
As eyes open a flock of crows darts out from my ears their beaks poke at my pupils


I am bouncing a ball by myself
in an empty playing field
When the night wind's footsteps
step on the leaves one leaf one leaf
and again one leaf
at a time
the sound of the bouncing ball
echoes toing toing
across the empty field

You who have escaped from me

I throw the ball into the net!

I throw you
high up!

Are you a hollow made from the blow of my breath?

I will tie up your face
in space

If I throw the ball up in the air will the wind also throw me?
Every time the wind throws me up in the air
and hits me toing toing
it feels as if the skin of my face
with its holes is getting pulled
Oh, then am I also a hollow
made from someone's breath?

In the totally empty night sky
the sound of someone's hand
hitting the taut moon

A Stuffy Poet and a Precocious Lover

The moment the poet says that the museum's narrative is chronological, his lover says that the museum can be read backwards and even starting from the middle as she pushes her shoes between his ribs. As soon as the poet says: Reading in that way is impossible because you have no historical knowledge, his lover replies, I'll take a look at Rooms 11a to 25a then go to Room 7b and sinks her teeth into his gums and walks away. The poet scribbles down: You won't be able to keep from returning. You'll get lost for sure. Suddenly his lover turns on the light in Room 19c and enters the room in which the portrait of his mother singing is hung: Dear Withered Child, you who have faded even before you could bloom, go far away to a world unimaginable to me and never ever return. The poet's lover says, I can even read upside down, and comes in through an entrance without a door carrying the poet's umbilical cord and points and giggles at the marble sculpture on the wooden stand, the poet's death-mask-forest. The moment the poet moves about in his sleep and predictably says that the museum's narrative is chronological, the lover thrusts into his wound her lips as hot as a lamp. His lover re-enters Room 23c through an ear then leaves through the mouth, then stops and re-enters the room and knocks on the door of the poet's death, which he kneads day and night. In the basement, an exhibition: self-portraits of the poet stretch out like the faces stuck on hemp towels. In here when the poet puts a candle on top of his hat and looks into the mirror, he becomes absorbed in drawing himself. The poet quickly adds to his self-portrait the faint silhouette of his lover who has returned to Room 33a. He mumbles, You merely pass through the rooms, but I can go outside only if I walk past each room sequentially. And yet his lover tears off the room numbers and throws them down in front of the poet. The candle flame flickers, maybe the wind is blowing in the dark mountain. Inside the dark room, the poet's father stops gnawing on the poet and peeks out between the black clouds. In the room of entangled time the poet stands aimlessly, unable to find the exit.


- 사흘

네 인형은 안녕하세요?
네 인형은 건강하세요?

네가 인형의 귀에 대고, 비밀이야! 평생 입 다물어
네가 인형의 눈알을 뽑으며, 너도 좋았지? 그런 거지?
네가 인형의 머리를 자르며, 이 더러운 년아 죽어버려
네가 인형을 태우며, 너는 전생은 잊은 거야, 영원히

네가 집을 나가면 남아 있는 것, 인형
네가 집을 나가면 살아나던 것, 인형
네가 집을 나가면 창문 열고 내다보던 것, 인형
네가 집을 나가면 외출하던 것, 인형
네가 집을 나가면 외출해서 고아 행세 하던 것, 인형

남 앞에선 왠지 음식을 먹을 수 없다고 하는 것
죽지도 않는 것
텅 빈 것
눈동자에 네 귀신을 모신 것

저기 저 걸어가는 네 인형의 팔 없는 팔이 나왔다 들어간다
다리 없는 다리가 나왔다 들어간다
마치 침대에 두 다리를 눕혀놓고 온 사람처럼

다리에서 종이 뭉치가 흩어진다

네 인형은 걷는다
네 인형은 말한다

몸속으로 눈동자를 떨어뜨리고
모가지가 돌아가도록 울던 저것

네가 죽으면 다시 살아나올지도 모릅니다

그러나저러나 너는 이제 인형을 세울 수 없게 되었다
그러나저러나 너는 이제 인형을 걸릴 수 없게 되었다
그러나저러나 너는 이제 인형을 웃길 수 없게 되었다

너는 이제 인형과 줄이 끊어졌다

인형에게: 너는 아직 저녁마다 침대에 눕히고 눈을 감겨줄 사람이 필요해.

네가 엉엉 울며 편지를 쓴다.


- Day Four

Lie down with your head on the cutting board.

Don't cry, in writing no life is without sadness.

Fur plucked, intestines pulled, head drops, oil bubbles, ankles clutched in
huge hands
but your time has yet to arrive.


- 나흘

도마를 베고 누워라.

울지 마라, 글로 써서 슬프지 않은 인생은 없다.

털이 뽑히고, 내장이 뽑히고, 머리가 떨어지고, 기름이 끓고, 두 발목을 큰 손이
너는 아직 멀었다.

Midnight Sun

- Day Five

A letter will arrive from a place where your reply can't be sent

That you're already here
That you've already left you

Hole that knows everything, a letter as luminous as the blue sky will arrive

Like the brain that sees all too clearly after death, a bright letter will arrive
Like the days before you were born, a widely wide letter without yesterday or
tomorrow will arrive

Soft chiming of bells from the carriage made of light
Giggles of a girl in pants made of light, the last train runs above ground

knocking on the nightless world
the world where all the trains on the platform light up at once and silently forget
about you

You can't go, for you are footless, but the children of your childhood are
already there
A letter will arrive from that bright hole where not even a reply in black on black
can be sent

Your children age in front of you
From that place you departed to, to be reincarnated first

a letter will arrive, written in ink of brightly bright light

From that place where you've never encountered darkness
an enormously enormous letter will arrive
like the world of brilliant light a newborn greets for the first time


- 닷새

네가 답장할 수 없는 곳에서 편지가 오리라

네가 이미 여기 있다고
네가 이미 너를 떠났다고

모든 것을 알고 있는 구멍, 저 푸른 하늘처럼 밝은 편지가 오리라

죽어서 모두 환하게 알게 된 사람의 뇌처럼 밝은 편지가 오리라
네 탄생 전의 날들처럼 어제도 없고 내일도 없는 넓고 넓은 편지가 오리라

빛으로 만든 마차의 방울소리 고즈넉이 울리고
빛으로 만든 바지를 입은 소녀의 까르르 웃음소리 밤 없는 세상을 두드리는

마지막 지하철이 지상으로 올라가고
플랫폼의 기차들이 일제히 불을 켠 채 말없이 너를 잊어 주는 세상

너는 발이 없어 못가지만 네 아이적 아이들은 이미 거기 가 있는
네 검은 글씨에 검은 글씨로 답장조차 할 수 없는 그 밝은 구멍에서 편지가 오리

네 아이들이 네 앞에서 나이를 먹고
너 먼저 윤회하러 떠나버린 그곳에서

밝고 밝은 빛의 잉크로 찍어 쓴 편지가 오리라

이 세상에 태어나 한번도 어둠을 맞아 본 적이 없는 그곳에서
지금 막 태어난 아기가 첫 눈 뜨고 마주한 찬란 빛 세상처럼
커다랗고 커다란 편지가 오리라

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