Kim Young T'aek

THE SOMJIN RIVER I
(섬진강1)

Walking along in the dry weather,
look at the Somjin River.
There gather and flow brook-streams
never interrupted no matter how much drawn,
exactly like the veins of Chollado.
When it gets dark, the river brings its banks
white clover flowers like cooked rice
and milkweed flowers like cooked rice
and milkweed flowers like charcoal fire,
so the banks put them on the head.
The river collects darkness around
a riverside village not shown in any map
and grass not entered in a botanical encyclopedia,
killing the darkness by hanging
flower lanterns on sunburned foreheads.
When feeling choked after flowing on and on,
Somjin calls the current going to the Yongsan River
and gives a tight hug of affection;
then it turns around the thick waist of Mt. Chiri.
Look at that Somjin, walking along!
Mt. Chiri, washing in the evening river
and rising with guffaw, shouts at Mt. Mudung:
Somjin can't be dried up by a handful of guys
that dare draw it off, can it?
That's impossible. Am I right?
Mt. Mudung nods its yes.
Look at Mudung's shiny head.
Look at Somjin, walking alongside.
A handful of ill-bred sons-of-bitches
never can dry it up.