The thunder and lightning accompanying the thunderstorm
seem to have torn one edge of the sky,
the oxygen in the air is leaking away;
a jet plane
scrambles, comes flying fast
and carefully mends the cloth
with rapid lockstitch.
As it heads into the twilight,
the white seam is clearly visible—
~ Oh Sae-young, trans. from Korean by Brother Anthony of Taizé
Oh Sae-young was born in Yongkwang, South Jeolla Province, in 1942. He has published some twelve volumes of poetry as well as a number of volumes of literary essays, and has received several awards for his work. His poetry as a whole is characterized by the pursuit of a harmonious fusion of the lyrical with the ideological, and the desire to give new formal expression to tradition using the techniques of Modernism. He is now an Emeritus Professor at the Seoul National University.
Brother Anthony of Taizé is a translator, scholar, and member of the Taizé Community who has become a naturalized Korean citizen. He lives in Seoul.
This poem is from the volume ‘Night-Sky Checkerboard: Poems by Oh-Sae Young’, translated by Brother Anthony of Taizé and forthcoming from Phoneme Media in Spring 2016. Thanks to Phoneme Media for permission to publish this poem here.