Ko Un

Ko Un Poems

Now I am gazing
at the snow path that covers up what has passed.
After wandering through the whole winter,
I am gazing at this foreign territory.

There are stories.
There are people telling stories
and people listening to them.

What a relief
you cannot live everywhere all at once.
Today, here in Diamond Cave,
there's no longer any reason to live.

Spring. Everything's liberated.
The news of flowers
eases the poverty of this world.
Throughout this fractured country

Transformed into arrows
let's all soar together, body and soul!
Piercing the air
let's go soaring, body and soul!

A slower pace, a somewhat slower pace will do.
Of a sudden, should it start to rain,
let yourself get soaked.
An old friend, the rain.

We put up a tent for the night
between Shigatse and Latse.
As soon as the tent was up
a storm broke.

Never beg the wind for mercy.
Tall wild lilies and such
scented white lilies and such

I've never been an individual entity.
Sixty trillion cells!
I'm a living collectivity.

For thirty-three years as a poet
I merrily defined what beauty was.
Each time, without hesitation
I would declare: beauty is like this, or:

What will we do if May passes by forgotten?
What will we do if May passes by forgotten?
One midnight in May martial law descended upon us.
We were beaten up like dogs and dragged in.

I'm utterly helpless.
I'll just have to swallow my spit
and adversity, too.
But look!

Recollection is short, fantasy long!
A place where I'd never been born,
must never be born—
the Himalayas.

All day long I've been hidden, enmeshed, locked in
the shadow of the holy mountain,
my body covered with shame.
I'd hoped there would be a dog

Here's an old-fashioned poem of the kind written before 1950,
usually entitled "Untitled."
One day I took a pebble from

This is the loneliest spot in the country on New Year's Day.
I've spent the whole long winter here,
devoid of everything.

Angulimala was a devil of a cutthroat.
That fellow
sliced off the fingers of the people he killed
and wore them

He himself lamented that his death came late.
But his death did come
when he had to die.
Three years after the Gwangju Uprising

Ch'oi Hong-kwan, our maternal grandfather,
was so tall his high hat would reach the eaves,
scraping the sparrows' nests under the roof.
He was always laughing.

What is our country's deepest point? Indangsu.
Where are our country's deepest thoughts found?
Not in Toegye, the noted scholar,
but in the firm resolve of one destitute girl

Ko Un Biography

Ko Un (born on 1 August or 11 April 1933) is a South Korean poet whose works have been translated and published in more than 15 countries. He had been imprisoned many times due to his role in the campaign for Korean democracy. Ko is routinely mentioned in Korea as one of the front runners for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and Korean reporters have camped outside his house ahead of the annual recipient announcement. Ko was born Ko Untae in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province in 1933. He was at Gunsan Middle School when war broke out. The Korean War emotionally and physically traumatized Ko and caused the death of many of his relatives and friends. Ko's hearing suffered from acid that he poured into his ears during an acute crisis in this time and it was further harmed by a police beating in 1979. In 1952, before the war had ended, Ko became a Buddhist monk. After a decade of monastic life, he chose to return to the active, secular world in 1962 to become a devoted poet. From 1963 to 1966 he lived on Jejudo, where he set up a charity school, and then moved back to Seoul. His life was not calm in the outer world, and he wound up attempting suicide (a second time) in 1970. Around the time the South Korean government attempted to curb democracy by putting forward the Yusin Constitution in late 1972, Ko became very active in the democracy movement and led efforts to improve the political situation in South Korea, while still writing prolifically and being sent to prison four times (1974, 1979, 1980 and 1989). In May 1980, during the coup d'etat led by Chun Doo-hwan, Ko was accused of treason and sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment. He was released in August 1982 as part of a general pardon. After his release, his life became calmer; however, he startled his large following by revising many of his previously published poems. Ko married Sang-Wha Lee on May 5, 1983, and moved to Anseong, Gyeonggi-do, where he still lives. He resumed writing and began to travel, his many visits providing fabric for the tapestry of his poems. Since 2007, he is a visiting scholar in Seoul National University, and teaches poetry and literature. As of 2011, Ko was awarded with a certificate proclaiming him an 'Honorary Islander' from Jeju-do.)

The Best Poem Of Ko Un

The Snow Path

Now I am gazing
at the snow path that covers up what has passed.
After wandering through the whole winter,
I am gazing at this foreign territory.
The scene of snow
falls in my heart for the first time.
The world is at the edge of meditation,
a world covered with exuberant peace
no country that I have traveled has ever seen.
I am gazing at the invisible movements of all things.
What is the sky where the snow is falling?
Listening closely, through the falling snow,
I hear the grand earth's confession.
I can hear for the first time.
My heart is the snow path outside,
and darkness within.
After wandering though this world of winter,
I have come now to guard the great quiet,
and, in front of the piling snow,
my heart is darkness.

Ko Un Comments

Rahman Henry 03 September 2015

Ko Un is such a poet who deserves Nobel Prize in Literature, as sooner as better.

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