PoetryWorld Literature

Binge Eating – A Poem from Korea, the Land of Morning Calm

Jang Geon-seob, an eminent poet and writer of Republic of Korea, shares his poem

Jang Geon-seob

Jang Geon-Seob Korea PoetJang Geon-seob is a Korean poet and editor. He is director of the Korea Record Writers Association, a member of the Korea Music Copyright Association, member of Korean Writers Association, director of the International PEN Korea and director of the Korea Modern Poets Association. He is also the editor in chief of ‘The Future Daily’ and Tongyang Broadcasting Company. He published 10 collections of poetry, include ‘Sorokdo’ (Comeback), Prelude to the Poem for Love for a Single Person, Binge etc.

Binge eating

By Jang, Geon-seob


Even if the wife leaves the house for just one day

I start binge eating


Because I feel the emptiness of my wife’ absence

Whatever foods

Eat and eat,

Search For something else to eat


And finally, I’m alone

Stomachache all night


Even though, wife’ absence is just one day,

The whole house that used to be a cramped one,

Looks wide as much as Seoul World Cup Stadium at Sangam-dong


Even today morning, my wife knows,

Watching the morning news on television,

There was heavy snowfall in Jeolla-do last night.

Suddenly, she said that she wants to see snow

And want to see her mother

Putting off washing the dishes in the morning

Start to panic


I wonder that my wife really wants to see the snow?

Really wants to see her mother?

Perhaps, at the news of the snow in her hometown

Does not rise a dim recollection of old love?


My wife, after all, around the time of the sunset

She left the house toward the train station on her way home.


The train which carrying my wife to her home,

Pass by with the evening sunset,

Even in Seoul,

It is snowing which give longing for homesick to my wife


And I’m going to binge eating tonight too.



 장건섭 시인


아내가 하루만 집을 비워도

나는 폭식(暴食) 한다


아내의 빈자리가 허전해서

이것저것 닥치는 대로

먹고 먹고,

먹을 것을 찾게 된다


그리고 끝내 나는 혼자

밤새 배앓이를 한다


아내가 집을 비운 것은


언제나 비좁기만 하던 전체가

상암동 서울월드컵경기장만큼이나

넓어 보인다


오늘도 아내는,

간밤에 전라도 지역에 폭설이 내렸다는

텔레비전 아침 뉴스를 보다가

갑자기 () 보고 싶다며

엄마가 보고 싶다며

아침 설거지도 뒤로 미룬

허둥대기 시작한다.



정말 눈이 보고 싶은 것일까?

정말 엄마가 보고 싶은 것일까?


혹시, 고향의 소식에

희미한 옛사랑의 그림자라도

떠올려졌던 것은 아니었을까.


아내는, 결국 저녁노을이 무렵

고향 가는 기차역을 향해 집을 나섰다.


아내를 실은 기차는

저녁노을과 함께 지나가는데

서울에도 아내에게 그리움을 주는

눈이 내리고 있다.


그리고 나는 오늘 밤도 폭식을 한다.


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