In a Birch Wood in Winter
KWAK Hyo Hwan(Poet)
Translated by Brother Anthony of Taizé
In a wood all dyed in reddish golden light
the fierce wind blows and blows,
standing in sharp lines.
Even the larches have cast off their last leaves
and on the empty hills a thin crying rings
that suddenly stops and a cluster of birch trees stands clustered,
dazzling white in their naked bodies.
In one spot there’s a shingle-roof house, broad-backed like you,
its roof held down with numerous stones
so I relaxed in the solemn shade of the birch wood
where the trees gleamed white from the very base of their trunks.
Smoke was rising from the low-roofed house’s chimney
and a ray of sunlight shone down on the snow-decked mountain village
while the crack of thick ice breaking in the stream rang out
and I survey bygone love that I thought was all forgotten
but the mark of a slight burn on the wrist
that brushed past a flame
does not readily fade
and beneath the shade of the birch trees my laugh is bright like fresh snow.
* 《Cultura》 2022 August(Vol. 98) *