Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Moon - Bak Cheol

Lame Geum-taek
bought a soccer ball two weeks ago.
Three months before, seeing the artificial lawn of the mini-soccer-ground
newly installed in the neighborhood park
he had twisted his head upward, saying: Neat, Neat,
as if inspecting a newly-trimmed grave mound.
When Geum-taek, who had limped all his life and now was old, alone,
went into the stationers the very sky was amazed.
No-one was watching so apart from people everything around
assumed he was buying a birthday present for his nephew in Uijeongbu.
Once full moon was past, one autumn night when even the clouds had gone home
Geum-taek goes out to the park with the ball, past three in the morning.
Instead of the lamp, extinguished at ten, the waning moon is shining.
Geum-taek looks around the empty park, the empty soccer ground, several times,
then goes kicking hard toward the goal.
Once he’s scored a goal, he picks it up then kicks and kicks and kicks again.
In thirty minutes he’s kicked the ball as many times as others do in forty years.
The waning moon in its twentieth day, is bright as a sharpened knife,
and while he rests  briefly, panting, from the apartments by the park
crippled Jae-bun grasps the railing and looks down.
The waning moon looks down on old maid Jae-bun in the dark.
Geum-taek’s father looks down at the moon.
Brighter, brighter than any full moon, such a waning moon I never saw,
he murmurs like the moon.

Bak Cheol (born 1960) South Korea
Translated by Brother Anthony

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant and free from abusive language. Thank you.