When I’m Forbidden: Ten Shijo by Yook Woo-dang

When I’m Forbidden: Ten Shijo by Yook Woo-dang

May 19, 20146964Views

By Yook Woo-dang

Hesitation                                                                                     망설임

Sorrow at loving you when I’m forbidden.                                  사랑하나 다가서지 못하는 이 내 설움

I watch from the offing, a smile on my lips.                                멀리서 바라보며 고운 입술 벙긋벙긋.

It was a cruel heaven that made me a queer.                              하늘은 야속하게도 날 이반으로 나셨내.


In Praise of Holland                                                                  화란예찬가

Tiny dreamland in northern Europe,                                            북유럽 조그마히 자리 잡은 꿈의 나라.

I envy your freedom and nondiscriminatory peace.                     자유와 평등평화 그곳이 부럽구나.

Holland, land of hope, earthly paradise.                                      화란은 희망의 나라 지상 천국 이노라.


Warmth of your body                                                         당신의 체온

A union of my soft backside with yours                                당신과 보드러운 둔부를 맞댄다면

would slowly melt the coldest ice.                                        차가운 얼음마저 사르르 녹게 되죠.

With the warmth of your body, please melt me!.                   당신의 따스한 체온으로 나를 녹여 주세요.


At a gay bar                                                                               어느 이반 바에사

Pour, pour again, let’s get ourselves drunk.                                따라라 또 따라라 취하도록 마셔 보자.

Let’s forget, forget. Forget all the sorrow, the accusations,      잊자, 잊자 온갖 설움 온갖 비난 모두 잊자.

the pain of their contempt                            우리가 이반이란 이유로 멸시 받은 그 고통을.

because we are queers.

Itaewon nights                                                                     이태원의 밤

Neon signs like myriad beautiful waves,                                화사한 형형색색 물결 같은 네온사인

mirthful strains of song, its busy streets humming,                흥겨운 노랫소리 거리마다 시끌버끌

Itaewon on Saturday night- a reign of peace!                         토요일 이태원의 밤은 태평성대로구나.


Queer get-together                                                          이반 정모

A glass of light booze cures a pound of cares.                   가벼운 술 한 잔에 근심 한 근 사라지고

Cheery conversation sets our woes to flight.                      흥겨운 대화에 괴로움도 사라진다.

The mirthful night flows with the lilting music.                 경쾌한 음악소리와 함께 흘러가는 웃음 밤.


At a queer bathhouse                                                             이반 목욕탕에서

How old are you, boy? You’re cute. Let’s do it.                        노년아 몇살이냐 귀엽구나, 나랑 놀자.

How old are you, sir? Oh, you’re hot.                                  아저씨는 몇 살이세요. 허우대가 멋있네요.

The sound of those two fucking in the room excites me.           단둘이 방에서 박타는 그 소리가 흥겹다.


Your embrace                                                          당시의 품

Resting my face on your burly chest,                         딱 벌어진 당신 가슴에 어굴을 기대니

your scent, weighty, is sensed by me alone.               듬직한 향기가 내게만 느껴지네.

Your embrace is sweeter than any flower.                  그 어떤 꽃향기보다 당신 품이 더 향긋해요.


Love neatly folded                                                                 사랑을 고이 접어  

Our love, gentle as a lotus scent.                                              목련꽃 향기처럼 은은한 우리 사랑.

I’ll fold this love neatly and keep it for a long, long time         이 사랑을 고이 접어 오래오래 간직할게요.

so I can give it to you tenderly when you come again.              언젠가 다시 오시거든 조심스레 드리도록.


A happy parting                                                               기쁜 이별

You, like a pine needle that silently breezed in.                  소리 없이 내게 왔던 솔잎 같은 그대여.

Now you slip from my hands, just as you came.                 이제는 살며시 나 모르게 떠나가네요.

But I don’t blame you. Please be happy.                             하지만 원망은 안 해요. 부디 행복 하세요.


(Translated by Gabriel Sylvian. All rights with Solidarity of LGBT Human Rights of Korea.)

Gabriel Sylvian is a researcher at Seoul National University.



Laos’ Plain of Jars: A Forgotten and Neglected Wonder

Writing from Wreckage: Korean LGBT Literature, Activism and the First Literary Award