The round moon
embraces all things in a round way,
Having fallen in love with camels,
their ugly faces, she follows them
to the desert to soothe the heavy
loaded backs with fingers of light.
Ah, peace-loving animals,
gentle beings that eschew
all greed. Blown away by the winds
of the desert, the dust in your mind
takes shape in the shadows
of the desert mountain.
Amidst love’s capricious winds,
you close your tender eyes,
and all sadness disappears,
then taking aboard the moonlight,
you plod your way through heaven’s
valleys, leaving behind the imprint
of your soft footsteps as you go.
Walking along the trail in the Byeolnae Woods
in the city of Namyangju, I breathe in the scent
of the blue green pine trees along the ridge path
and remember how the white breaths of ruga rugosa
in the seaside side town of Cape Elizabeth, Maine,
would disappear, swallowed by the blue ocean.
Today, I breathe the silence that has bloomed
in two places as I meet the wave of the winds
and open flowered time. As I walk,
I become a four-legged animal holding
on to two walking poles as I climb,
exhaling the whole of my clear joys,
make a soothing sound of short breaths.
A deer that ambles along on the woodland
path by the sea, gazes at me, surprised,
Look, it seems to say, a white-haired lady
with four legs walking along the pine tree
trails of Byeolnae Ridge. I say nothing back,
I just blow a pink smile to the wind and it blows
it right back to me as I walk the seaside lane.
I sit down to enjoy a meal during the hour
when the warm haze of morning
warms my back.
And as I do, I think of the fatigue
of the woman who soaks the sweat
from her skin in a salt pond
after a long day of work.
I wonder if the bright-red kimchi
brought spicy pain to the bent figure
who toils in a distant pepper field.
As my meal is prepared for me, I wonder —
do I really deserve to eat this boiled rice?
I wonder how qualified I am to be happy
in this world so ridden with sorrows,
where every living thing must struggle.