Tuesday, February 19, 2008

When that Day Comes (그 날이 오면)

I'm a member of 'the Washington Korean Studies Forum (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5703167577).' We discuss various issues around Korean peninsula and the Northeast Asia. Last Friday, we invited Hyuk-Kyo Suh, a veteran activist/organizer in the Korean-American communities in New York City and the DC area and his wife Youngjoo Shim.
I was so glad to know that Mrs. Shim was a grand daughter of the famous Korean novelist and poet, Hoon Shim (1901∼1936). He participated in March 1st movement and wrote novels and poems in Korea during Japanese colonial period. His works expressed Korean people's resistance against Japanese colonial rule.
I would like to introduce his most famous poem 'When that Day Comes (그날이 오면).' It was originally written in Korean but I also found an English translation. You could feel how strong Korean people's aspiration for liberation was. Apparently, that Day means the day Korea would become independent and liberated from brutal Japanese rule.

그 날이 오면

그 날이 오면, 그 날이 오면은
삼각산이 일어나 더덩실 춤이라도 추고
한강물이 뒤집혀 용솟음칠 그 날이
이 목숨이 끊어지기 전에 와 주기만 하량이면
나는 밤하늘에 나는 까마귀와 같이
종로의 인경을 머리로 들이받아 울리오리다.
두개골은 깨어져 산산조각이 나도
기뻐서 죽사오매 오히려 무슨 한이 남으오리까.

그 날이 와서, 오오 그 날이 와서
육조(六曹) 앞 넓은 길을 울며 뛰며 뒹굴어도
그래도 넘치는 기쁨에 가슴이 미어질 듯하거든
드는 칼로 이 몸의 가죽이라도 벗겨서
커다란 북을 만들어 들쳐 메고는
여러분의 행렬에 앞장을 서오리다.
우렁찬 그 소리를 한 번이라도 듣기만 하면
그 자리에 거꾸러져도 눈을 감겠소이다.

When that Day Comes
-Hoon Shim

When that day comes
Mt.Samgak will rise and dance, the waters of Han will rise up.
If that day comes before I perish,
I will soar like a crow at night
and pound the Chongno bell with my head.
The bones my skull will scatter, but I shall die in joy.

When that day comes at last
I'll roll and leap and shout on the boulevard
and if you still stifles within my breast
I will take a knife
and skin my body and make
a magical drum march with it
in the vanguard.
O procession!
Let me once hear that thundering shout,
my eyes can close then.

* When that Day Comes, translated by Peter H. Lee. Dorothy Balair Shimer 편, The Mentor Book of Modern Asian Literature(1969)


Justin-B형 said...

This is very touching.

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful piece of work.

Justin-B형 said...

ps. I think it must sound even better in Korean.

Melissa said...

As March 1st approaches, I hope we see some more posts concerning thoughts and connections to the March 1st movement.