16 September 2008

As promised on my myspace.com blog

Welcome, myspace folks and regular viewers. Below is an old sijo (Korean traditional poem) that I translated with a lot of sweat and help.

Some History

The sijo is older than the japanese counterpart, the haiku. It's usually one breath (between 14 - 16 syllables). Yulgok Yi Yi was one of the most famous sijo writers in Korean history. His mother was a painter (see image) and a famous writer. He learned his craft from her. He was born 1536 in Kangneun, Kangwondo (Korea). At thirteen he passed Korea's prestigious government exam and joined the elite yangban ruling class. Yulgok believed that energy is the center of the universe. Also, he proposed reinforcing the Korean military -- in other words, he foresaw the impending Japanese invasion.

Below is one of his famous sijo poems. Enjoy:

Yulgok Yi Yi (author -- Joseon Dynasty)

First is

the sun strikes Crown Rock

mist lift leaving painted fields: far and

near alive

the pine wine-jar

I set for friends among the greens,

they seem to approach when I watch

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