About Time

Poetry & Translation from Korean by Ihlwha Choi

Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus, 1937. Courtesy: Creative Commons
About Time

The flowers bloom and wither only to make people cry.
Tadpoles grow up to be frogs. 
Just as robbers rob an old king's grave, a drunk catches frogs for a side dish.
Time does not take you like a river flowing with fallen petals,
but across the fixity of time,
seasons become spring, autumn and spring again.
The moving thing is not time but the sparrows, 
the morning glories and the crescent moon.
Time does not bring you to the tomb step by step,
but it stays still without any facial expression, 
while not only do the flowers bloom and the birds sing,
but also, you swim across the river of time towards a profound future.
You don't have to wait for the time when it takes you for a ride 
but you must swim like a webfoot or with a fin 
to build your own house on a housing lot of time like a silk carp, honeybee or kingfisher.
You must row on the milky way in the blue sky 
with your own hands and feet like a pole,
your heart and brain like a mast.
Like a planet swimming in the universe,
you must fly across time like a kestrel.
The cornelian cherry and golden bells started to burst from yesterday. 
Brilliant flowers bloom with their wings to build their own houses.
It is not that time brings you to the grand residence by taking you on the cloud train 
but you are to walk struttingly through time to be a flower or a butterfly.

Ihlwha Choi is a South Korean poet. He has published multiple poetry collections, such as Until the Time, When Our Love will Flourish, The Color of Time, His Song and The Last Rehearsal.



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