Winter Renga

In spring, all chi existed in heaven.
              Then dropped, most like a bird.

As the persimmon still clings high on highest.
               Not an apple.

The stones settle to the bottom – we should be moving out of the silt.
               Cast over the shoulder, they could have become human.  

What is the language of the garden?
               A branch breaking under the weight of its fruit.

 If you don’t understand, go to the kitchen and drink cold water.
               The voice of frost, the withered field.

Went along the road with a set of spirit clothes.
               Say it clearly.

When not if.
               A tiny insect flew into my mouth.    

Let there exist for us not one single further sorrow.
               I miscarried not once but twice.

He had disappeared, and now he will suddenly be there again.
              So I raised it to my mouth and blew it loose.  






Line 9 from The Whole World is a Single Flower by Seung Sahn

Line 11 from Shamans, Housewives, and other Restless Spirits by Laurel Kendall

Line 13 modified from a phrase in “If See No End In Is” by Frank Bidart

Line 15 from If Not, Winter, Ann Carson’s translations of Sappho

Line 17 possibly from a book on Hermes in the library of the Writers’ Room of Boston, title unknown




Hyejung Kook’s poetry has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in Hyphen Magazine, Prairie Schooner, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, wildness, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry. Other works include an essay in The Critical Flame and Flight, a chamber opera libretto. She is a Fulbright grantee and a Kundiman fellow. Find more of Hyejung’s work






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