Ozko (Envoi)

21 November 2011

You first heard 그 속삭임 of death when you were
four, sotto-voce, an intimation of 내생, or else a life

unencumbered by some mysterious 무릎의 문양
found tattooed on 아귀. It glowed in the dark and

wore 회색양말, like a truant schoolgirl secretly
photographed in Hongdae while 산낙지 먹기; or was

she simply 대추나무와 사귀다? Ah, young people!
Trapped inside a cruel way-station 천지간, spiritually

노숙, yearning the dreams that fed their elders.
When the young girl rises from the table, 그를 버리다,

she neglects to retrive the picture of 꽃나무 he
had drawn in exchange for 깨끗한 식사, his first in days.

Snow forms hanok skylines in an 고독에 대한 해석,
while a snowman melts in the park, its 투명해지는 육체.

소설을 쓰자! yells the neon sign, with untold glee,
but the winds writes 테이블 instead, cosmically aloof.

And all the while, that old 서울 코라 goes round,
praying that the sun gets there , before the moon

stirs the ondol floor’s 숲에 관한 기억. So grainy,
silhouetted against 결정적 순간, an intake of breath,

동변상련의, of fathomless regret. A missed bus,
an unanswered card, or else someone’s 너무 늦은 생각.

Now! 나는 이제 소멸에 대해 이야기하련다 in a
loud voice, while 공원에서 쉬다 1. Better silence than

아직 오지 않은 말들; better words were said when
그들은 아무 말도 하지 않았다 – and yet, according to

this 갈대 등본, it’s all been said before, whistled
through 바람의 백만번째 어금니, forever, and ever.

The universe was 끝나지 않는 것에 대한 생각.
And the rain cried 축, 생일! And the birds agreed

that 세계는 맛있다 when eaten cold or raw,
and a lilypad can be just as tasty as a 떠다니는 말.

꽃은 어제의 하늘 속에 has no flavour at all,
and a soul, while fragrant, 육체가 없었으면 없었을.

Meanwhile, our group was 성읍 마을을 지나며
and we were laughing gently at 염소 걸음. Obviously,

we were 70년대산. Had we been older, maybe
we’d know what it might feel like to be 서른 살

and a goat. But I mistook the 꽃의 고요 for
tranquility, while its petals fanned the 지옥의 불길.

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David Prater

About David Prater

David Prater was Cordite's Managing Editor from 2001 to 2012. His first poetry collection, We Will Disappear, was published by papertiger media in 2007, and Vagabond Press published his chapbook Morgenland in the same year. His poetry has appeared in a wide range of Australian and international journals, and he has performed his work at festivals in Australia, Japan, Bulgaria, Canada, the United States, the Netherlands and Macedonia. He has also undertaken two writers’ residencies in Seoul, Republic of Korea, and has worked extensively as a teacher, editor and researcher. He currently lives in Stockholm, Sweden.


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