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Joke – A Poem from Korea

Joke – A Poem from Korea

If every person on Earth burst into tears at the same time,

How much would the sea level rise?

Kim Joong Il, eminent poet from Korea, the Land of Morning Calm, shares his poem   

Kim Joong Il Korea Sindh CourierPoet Kim Joong Il was born in Seoul in 1977 and debuted in 2002 through the Dong-A Daily New Writer’s Contest in poetry. His poetry collections include Border Flower Shop (2007), Sorry, Mr. Anyway (2012), The Person I Will Live With (2015), From Heart to Deer (2018), Ghost Poet (2019), and If Morning Doesn’t Come in Our Poems (2022). He has received several awards, including the 30th Shin Dong-yup Literary Award (2012), the 3rd Kim Koo-yong Poetry Award (2013), the 1st Dingadolha Excellent Work Award (2015), the 19th Jihoon Award (2019), and the 23rd Modern Poetry Award (2022). Currently, he is an assistant professor in the Creative Writing Department at Gwangju University.


If every person on Earth burst into tears at the same time,

How much would the sea level rise?

Which remote corner of some low-lying island would be submerged first?

If the water level rises above our nap,

And it reaches the clouds, will they break like waves?

How many more clouds would bloom than necessary?

And if they completely cover the Earth, will the residue leak out into space?

Will it leak out like the smoke from cooking rice in a refugee camp?

Will it wave like a white flag beyond the universe?

Will it be thrown away like a crumpled piece of white paper?

What if everyone on Earth burst into tears

Over the cruel, terrible, and sad thing that just happened to all of us?

What if it all happened equally and at the same time just once?

Then, by anyone,

It will never happen again.


images (2)농담

지구상의 모든 사람이 동시에 울음을 터뜨린다면

바다의 수위는 얼마나 올라갈까

세상의 어느 낮은 외진 모서리부터 차례로 잠길까

선잠 위로 차오르는 바다의 수위가

구름까지 닿으면 구름이 철썩철썩 파도처럼 부서질까

필요 이상으로 구름은 얼마나 많이 피어나

지구를 빈틈없이 모두 뒤덮고도 남아 우주로 새어나갈까

난민촌 짓는 연기처럼 모락모락 새어나갈까

우주 밖으로 백기처럼 휘날릴까

구겨진 백지처럼 버려질까

지구상의 사람 누구든 펑펑 울음을 터뜨리고야

방금도 일어난 잔혹하고 끔찍하며 슬픈 일이 우리 모두 에게

한번만 공평히 동시에 일어난다면 어떨까

그러면 누구에 의해서든

두번 다시는 그런 일이 일어나지 않을


Read: The Road to Flower Mountain – A Poem from Korea


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