My clumsy body. I’ve been always clumsy.
Gathering firewood, I have my hand or leg cut and scratched.
I limp on my way home. The day’s sun sets.
Now the darkness makes silence shine.
Stars are cold. I should make a fire.
These used to be deep in the forest, every last one.
There is one that burns more brilliantly
And hisses with fizz.
It’s the gnarled branch that resisted against the ax several times.
It’s a scar. The scarred trees.
Can they burn up once again though they have their backbone bent
And distorted, here and there in this life?
When can I make my living not so clumsy?
I hope the heavy gnarls of my life could ride on a burning flame
And fly like dust.
Burnt in the air, they leave ash behind.
I will strew white ash, that white ash, in my garden.
Will my life be bright when white leek flowers bloom?
White leek flowers, and their bright incarnation.
Mr. Park Nam Jun is an alumnus of Jeonju University. He lived in a
hut with a small vegetable garden on the slope of Moak Mountain
before he moved to Plum Village in Akyang. The poem was written
while he was living in Jeonju. (Translated and commented on by J.C.S.)