Lee Si-Young

Tell Me, Wind

Tell me, wind, who is in your land?
Are there vast shadows
that come down at sunset and rattle the door latch?
Are there aged mothers who open the back door and cough?
Is there a glow of fireflies bobbing all night in bamboo groves
then fleeing away to the ends of the earth?
Are there fathers there?
Tell me, wind, are there no faces in your land?
Are there not even footprints poised motionless?
Are there no silent eyes piercing the undergrowth?
Is there no future land a trembling heart can reach?
Tell me, wind, is there no one, no one in your land?

A Letter

This is the season of fallen leaves,
the season of long-beaked birds is over too.
Last summer we fought for far too long.
The fields in the south grew dark red with brothers'blood
while skies in the north, targeted by nuclear warheads,
grew more fiercely blue.
But brother dear, at the end of this season
a season of even greater ordeals is approaching.
In biting blizzards the mothers of the south see the fathers off
and beyond the frozen border river
the sons of the north will return again.
Then the long war between ideologies will end,
we will all die
and over the river hills where the thick ice is melting
a new spring will dawn with resonant cries,
the spring of children yet unborn.


On a patch of snow beside the mountain path this morning,
two sparrows lay with bleeding heads, asleep with their
gasping blood-red beaks buried under each other's wings.

Today dreaded martial law troops occupied the city,
driving even the little birds out of their minds.

Born in Kurye, South Cholla Province, in 1949, Lee Si-Young began publishing poetry in 1969 and has so far produced eight volumes, beginning with his first volume 만월(Full moon) in 1976. Ten yesrs passed before a second, 바람 속으로 (Into the wind) was published in 1986. Since then he has published regularly, with 길은 멀다 친구여(It's a long way, friend, 1988), 이슬 맺힌 노래(Songs soaked in dew, 1991), 무늬(Pattern, 1994), In 1996, he published 사이(Relationship) and in 1997 조용한 푸른 하늘(Quiet blue sky). He served as vice-president of 창작과비평사 changjak kwa pipyong Publishing Company for a number of years.