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Chupung Pass

On the steep slopes
at Chupung Pass
a mass of mountain flowers I cannot name
comes into view.

A pretty woman in Korean dress of ramie fabric
sitting beside me
exclaims in a warm voice,

'Oh, just look at those flowers!
Aren't they lovely!'

Her sigh echoes that of the Lady Suro.

Stroking my grey beard I evoke the image
of that old man of thirteen hundred years ago

evoking his image today in this place
as the old man thirteen hundred years before
from his place on the mountain slopes by the East Sea
evoked the image of me today
and inside the speeding express bus
alone I feel sad
and alone smile sweet smiles.
 

Note: The Lady Suro was a governor's wife renowned for her beauty in the Silla Dynasty.
The 'old man' figures in a Silla dynasty song: 'Song of an old man offering flowers'.