H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






Selected Translations of Classical Korean Shijo


I tie my boat along the Jinhwe & find a riverfront tavern.

The hostess doesn’t know the nation’s about to shatter into ruins.

She sings “The Pleasure Garden Song” as mist hangs on the river,

Moon on the sand.


––Ko Kyong-myong (1533-1592)



“O Monk!” I call. “How was the scenery across the Eastern Pass?”

“There’s nothing but wild red roses in leagues of shining sand, &

Above a distant bay pairs of white gulls wing in the threading rain.”


––Shin Wee (1769-1847)



Deciding to sell my poverty, I arrive at the aristocrat’s gate.

But who will cut a deal without turning a profit?

Though asked, I refused to hand over this river & mountain,

this moon & the wind.


––Jo Chan-han (1572-1631)



How many worlds have come into being & who were their heroes?

Everything that’s risen & fallen for 10,000 years feels like a momentary dream.

How can you tell such an old man not to party?


––Jo Chan-han (1572-1631)



a black branch dripping rain;

The silent hour

everything else revolves around, rushes past


So much




& messes

of the human you were/are/will be


& still

the white heron

encroached upon

by industry


among bulrushes


in its pristine sphere 


––Chungju (1959- )



[Originally published in NHS 2002, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs02/allen.html.]