Poems by Kang, Byeong-cheol from Korea

Επιμέλεια: Εύα Πετροπούλου Λιανού

Dr. Kang Byeong-cheol is a Korean author, poet, translator, and Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science. He was born in Jeju City, South Korea, in 1964. He began writing in 1993 and published his first short story, “Song of Shuba,” at the age of twenty-nine. In 2005, he published a collection of short stories. He has won four literature awards and has published more than eight books. He was a member of the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International from 2009 to 2014. He also served as the Founding President of the Korean Association of World Literature and as an editorial writer for JeminIlbo, a newspaper in Jeju City, Korea. Currently, he is a Vice President at the Korean Institute for Peace and Cooperation.

Snow Falling on White Birch Forest

Having flown around the world,

I am now watching snow fall

on a white birch forest in Poland

I am missing only the sunshine of Jeju City.

There is no more precious present than sunshine.

The sunshine of autumn in Jeju City is gorgeous.

You’ll never know how much I love sunshine.

Nothing can make me happy when skies are gray.

I am longing for the sun while watching snow fall

on a white birch forest in Poland.

Snowflakes are falling steadily on snow-covered birch trees.

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 easily, we won’t have anything to learn.

As we age, our classmates drift 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 myself 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.

Sounds of Bamboo Forest

No matter how strong the wind blows,

the green forest never crumbles.

When the wind passes by,

the green forest stands tall and proud,

inspiring admiration.

The sounds of bamboo forest,

echo through the trees,

whispers of wisdom and peace,

carried on the gentle breeze.

A symphony of rustling leaves,

Soft words win hard hearts,

a melody of harmony,

ringing in the bamboo forest glen.

So let the forest speak to you,

let its wisdom guide your way,

listen to the sounds of bamboo,

and find peace in each passing day.