Poems by Kang Byeong-Cheol

Kang, Byeong-Cheol (writer, poet, translator, Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science)

Επιμέλεια: Εύα Πετροπούλου Λιανού

Kang Byeong-Cheol is a Korean author, poet, translator, and holder of a Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science degree. He was born in Jeju City, South Korea in 1964, and began his writing career in 1993. His first short story, “Song of Shuba,” was published when he was twenty-nine years old.
In 2005, Kang published a collection of short stories and has since won four literature awards, publishing over eight books in total. He was a member of The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International from 2009 to 2014. From 2018 to 2022, he served as Secretary General of the Jeju Unification Education Center. Prior to that, he was a Specially Appointed Professor at Jeju International University from 2016 to 2018, a Research Professor at Chungnam National University National Defense Institute from 2013 to 2016, a Senior Researcher at the Society of Ieodo Research from 2010 to 2017, and CEO of Online News Media Jejuin News from 2010 to 2013.
Kang also worked as an editorial writer for NewJejuIlbo, a newspaper in Jeju City, Korea. Currently, he holds the position of Research Executive at The Korean Institute for Peace and Cooperation.

A tranquil evening

The sun is setting
decorating the world with beautiful shades of red
but red is not just one color
the fading red of the setting sun is a majestic and melancholic color
yet it is beautiful

The world is sometimes called the Saha world
a world where one must endure all kinds of suffering
but in fact, it is a beautiful world

As Sariputra said,
This world is the Saha world
Then, the Buddha lifted his foot and pointed to the world,
so, the world shone brilliantly
there was nothing that was not beautiful

In this quiet evening,
I do see the Buddha lifting his foot,
this peaceful time with remaining light
is the time when the true nature of the world is revealed,
the time when the Buddha lifts his foot.

Remember the brilliant world,
before entering the darkness,
before starting a new day,
during the time when the Buddha lifts his foot,
this “quiet and serene” time.

고요한 저녁

해가 지고 있어
아름다운 붉은색으로 세상을 장식하며
붉은색도 한가지가 아니야
져가는 해의 붉은 색은 장엄하고 슬픈 색이지
그러나 아름다워

세상은 사바(娑婆)세계라고 하기도 하지
온각 고통을 참아야 하는 세계
그러나 실은 아름다운 세상이야

사리불이 말했어
이 세상은 사바세계
그러자, 부처가 발을 들어 세상을 가리켰지
그 때, 세상이 찬란하게 빛났지
아름답지 않은 것은 없었어

나는 고요한 저녁에
부처가 발을 드는 것을 보지
아직 빛이 남아있는 이 시간의 고요한 저녁은
세상의 본 모습이 나타나는
부처가 발을 드는 시간이야

어둠으로 가기 전에
새날을 시작하기 전에
찬란한 세상을 잊지 말라고
부처가 발을 드는 시간
“적막하고 고요한” 시간

If the ocean were calm

It would be nice if the ocean were calm,
but if it is still for too long, it may kill sea creatures.
Even if waves are paradoxical, life is full of paradoxes too.
If everything goes easy, we won’t have anything to learn.

As we age, our classmates drifted away,
and I feel like I’m just coasting through life.
We want to share the good times,
but avoid the tough ones.
Yet, life is always a process of learning.

Avoiding pain doesn’t teach us anything,
but overcoming it does make us realize something.
Diamonds are made under pressure.
The greatest glory comes from pain.

Listen to the lessons of those wise people who have gone before us,
and ask yourself in a whisper,
Are you a meek creature who succumbs to pain,
Or a victorious human who overcomes it?

Just as stars cannot shine without darkness,
Brilliant black pearls always overcome pain.

바다가 잔잔하면

바다가 잔잔하면 좋겠지만,
너무 오래 잔잔하다면 좋지 않을 수도 있지
파도가 역설적일지 몰라도 인생도 역설적이지
모든 일이 순조롭다면 우리는 배울 게 없어.

나이가 들면서 우리의 동창들은 멀어져 가고,
나는 그저 삶을 허투루 살고 있다는 느낌이 들어
좋은 시간은 함께 나누고, 어려움을 피하려 하지만,
인생은 항상 배우는 과정이지.

고통을 회피하면 아무 것도 배우지 못하지만,
이겨내면서 우리는 깨닫게 되지.
다이아몬드는 압력 속에서 만들어지듯이,
가장 위대한 영광은 고통에서 나온다고 하지.

지나간 현인들의 가르침을 들어보고,
나 자신에게 속삭이며 질문하지
고통에 져서 울부짖는 순한 짐승인가?
그것을 이겨내 승리하는 인간이냐?

어둠 없이 별은 빛날 수 없듯이,
찬란한 흑진주는 항상 고통을 이겨내지