20 October 2008

A Narrow Place

Written by an anonymous thirteenth-century poet in the Korean traditional style of shijo. Translation by Andrew Nahm.
I go to the Turkish shop, buy a bun.
An old Turk grasps me by the hand.
If this story is spread abroad,
You alone are to blame, little doll on the shelf.
I will go, yes, to his bower;
A narrow place, sultry and dark.

I go to the Samjang Temple, light the lantern.
A chief priest grasps me by the hand.
If this story is spread abaord,
You alone are to blame, little altar boy;
I will go, yes, to his bower;
A narrow place, sultry and dark.

I go to the tavern, buy the wine.
An innkeeper grasps me by the hand.
If this story is spread abroad,
You alone are to blame, O wine jug.
I will go, yes, to his bower;
A narrow place, sultry and dark.

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