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Korean Short Stories

Ko Hyeong-ryeol Flower Rising in Tree Rings 꽃이 올라오는 나이테 Translated by Lee Hyeongjin

Information This work was previously published in New Writing from Korea . Please contact the LTI Korea Library.

About Ko Hyeong-ryeol Ko is a poet of “peculiar” voice. Calm even as it discusses the history of Korean national division or the author's wish for Korean reunification, his poetic language carries the halting tone of a soliloquy muttered or a conversation initiated with difficulty. Though never exertive, Ko’s poetry exudes the strength of compassion and warmth grounded in the poet’s own perspective toward the world, which is not that of a distant observer but rather that of a close neighbor who meditates on things as though they are an immediate part of his life. As Ko has aged his work has become even more humble and pure in tone. Ko as often describes the world as full of sorrow and suffering, but his poetry also expresses life with compassion and understanding. LTI Korea eLibrary:


Flower Rising in Tree Rings Once the snow melts, a multitude of waterdrops in a red pine's xylem start responding. Inside there is one single flower that refuses to rise. Aware of the flower's resolve not to rise, the owner presses down on the calf-shaped bulbil to prevent it rising from the navel. Only one single unknown flower that yields to all the other flowers does not open its soul at the dizzying tip of a branch. It cries like a frost flower on a cycad.

Language of ice that never blossoms,

though all flowers standing with one single flower inside their breasts eventually blossom, it changes its body in the xylem, rising then going back down again. At the very moment when numerous flowers are being hurt outside, One tooth-like rhodiola flower that neither perishes nor vanishes after blooming, placing that unutterable name which exists inside the red pine in the xylem during the midnight snowfall, one single flower freezes white like ice-porcelain. Ah, inside the ice a flower is running like time.

Copyright 2008 Literature Translation Institute of Korea


[korean short stories]ko hyeong ryeol, flower rising in tree rings  
[korean short stories]ko hyeong ryeol, flower rising in tree rings