Sekyo Nam Haines translates Cho Ji Hoon


Whenever I am sitting with you
even the longest night seems short.

Under the dim kerosene lamp,
our chins, resting on our hands,

we tell each other
our wordless stories.

From inside of me
You, embracing me again,

that look of you glows
more beautiful than my fate.

Moist with moonlight,
the autumn leaves

sleep with
the crickets in the empty yard.

On the darkening blue window,
leaning an ear,

there is someone, thinking—
the night is cold.



그대와 마주앉으면
기인 밤도 짧고나

희미한 등불 아래
턱을 고이고

단둘이서 나누는
말없는 얘기

나의 안에서
다시 나를 안아주는

거룩한 광망
그대 모습은

운명보담 아름답고
크고 밝아라

물들은 나믓잎새
달빛에 젖어

비인 뜰에 귀또리와
함께 자는데

푸른 창가에
귀 기울이고

생각하는 사람 있어
밤은 차고나.



The Suhn (Line)

The Suhn, bending gracefully
is the fragrance of a soul, pining for love.

Resentment, well wishes, desire …
all of these ordinary thoughts have gone into the Suhn.

On the celadons’s misty body
I read the sorrowful history.

The songs, sung, the things, made
all came from the finest of these Suhn.

This mysterious country where all emotions slope inward
and inward and come forth the Suhn, elegant, clear;
is this not the streaming tears of the aching heart?

Having swallowed the swelling cry
as if smiling quietly, the Suhn, poised,
blossoms the soul, pining for love.


아름다이 휘어져 넘은 선은
사랑에 주우린 영혼의 향기

원한과 축원과 희구와 …..조촐한 마음이
그 선으로 흘러 흘러

푸른 자기 아득한 살결에
슬픔의 역사를 읽어본다.

불러진 노래 만들어진 물건이
가느다란 선으로 이루어진것

안으로 안으로 들어가는 신비한 나라에
맑고 곱게 빼어난 선은
아픈 마음의 눈물이 아니냐

터지는 울음을 도로 삼키고
고요히 웃는듯 고운 선
사랑에 주우린 영혼이 피여나온다.



Cho Ji Hoon Born in 1920, Cho Ji Hoon is a canonical poet of modern Korea and a renowned traditionalist of Korean aesthetics. Although his poetry is written in a modernist free verse form, his poems resonate with the deep root of Korean literati Sijo and have an intense local flavor, imbued with the sounds, smells and colors of pre-industrial Korea. In 1939, at age 19, Cho Ji Hoon published his first poem in the literary magazine MoonJang. In 1946, he published his collection of poetry, Cheongnok Zip (청록집) alongside the poets Park Mokwohl and Pak Doo Zin. They were known as “Cheongnokpa,” the Green Deer Poets. A professor of Korean language and literature at Korea University for 20 years, Cho Ji Hoon served as the president of the Korean cultural society affiliated with the university and president of the Korean poet’s association. He received numerous literary awards, published five poetry collections, and many books related to Korean literature and culture.

Sekyo Nam Haines Born in South Korea, Sekyo Nam Haines immigrated to the U.S. in 1973 as a registered nurse. She studied American literature and writing at Goddard College ADP and poetry with the late Ottone M. Riccio in Boston, MA. Her first book, Bitter Seasons’ Whip: The Translated Poems of Lee Yuk Sa was published in April 2022 (Tolsun Books). Her poems have appeared in the anthologies Do Not Give Me Things Unbroken, Unlocking The Poem, and Beyond Words; and in the poetry journals Constellations, Off the Coast and Lily Poetry Review. Her translations of Korean poetry by Cho Ji Hoon have or will soon appear in Guernica, The Common, Interim, Asymptote’s Tuesday blog, The Tampa Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Consequence Forum, May Day, and The Fourth River. Her translations of Kim Sowohl’s poetry have appeared in The Harvard Review, Brooklynrail: InTranslation, Ezra, and Circumference. Her translation of “The Dire Pinnacle” by Lee Yuk Sa appeared in And There Will Be Singing /An Anthology of International Writing by The Massachusetts Review. Sekyo lives in Cambridge, MA with her family.