Journal In Jumunjin

By Hahm Dong-Seon

As if painted with a thick brush, the horizon
Goes down to dusk
And night begins to settle in the empty shoreline fields.
My hometown, like the stars just blinking on,
Is somewhere on the other side of a wide, wide river —
More sensation, more memory than town.
The raw-fish restaurant sways
With the dizzy give and take of the ocean waves.
The lights from docked fishing boats are doubled
In my cup of rice wine —
I drink and drink
And though I will soon quit this work, I haven’t yet looked enough
Through the train window at the trees and fields slipping out of eyeshot.
A handful of wind rises
Hauled away by night’s dark skirt.


After the rain
Fell hard on the autumn roofs,
From the most far-flung house to the nearest village
You can hear the ripe persimmons
Heavy with the sun’s red setting
Muttering now amongst themselves
That they are on the verge of falling.
As soon as the sun went under
As if hiccupped by the horizon,
The wind pulled in behind a train arriving from the suburbs
And let the night swell across
The field that turns
An annual crop, more or less, for fifty homes.
Before long electric bulbs are hot with light
And the first night of frost goes warm
Like the spot on the floor above the heat piped in from the kitchen fire,
A crescent moon pokes out its face
Like the curved back of a long-toothed comb.

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