Ko Un

Poems by Ko Un

Pumpkin Flower

Sunlight

The News of Flowers

  Ko Un

Sunlight

Iím utterly helpless.
Iíll just have to swallow my spit
and adversity, too.
But look!
A distinguished visitor deigns to visit
my tiny, north-facing cell.
Not the chief making his rounds, no.
As evening falls, a ray of sunlight.
A gleam no bigger than a crumpled postage stamp.
Iím crazy about it! Real first love!
I try to get it to settle on the palm of my hand,
to warm the toes of my shyly bared foot.
Then as I kneel and offer it my undevout, lean face,
in a moment that scrap of sunlight slips away.
After the guest has departed through the bars
the room feels several times colder and darker.
This special cell of a military prison
is like a photographerís darkroom.
Without any sunlight I laughed like a fool.
One day it was a coffin holding a corpse.
One day it was altogether the sea. How wonderful!
A few people survive here.
Being alive is a sea
without a single sail in sight.


SONGS FOR TOMORROW (Green Integer Books, 2009)

 

 

 

 

 

 
         
    Poetry Center Reading:
    Spring 2010