Cyclamens and Swords Publishing
Publishing fine poetry, prose and Art
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Poetry Translations December 2011
Poetry Translations December 2011
In this new section we will be featuring the English translations of living poets originally written in other languages.

Yoon-Ho Cho

Yoon-Ho Cho was born in 1938 in South Korea. His poetry was first recognized by Freedom Literature, a literary magazine that awarded him the New Writers Prize in 1963. In 1986, he published his first poetry book, Wanting to Meet Like Wildflower, which was followed by other poetry books: The Poet's Tree (1992), You, the Suffering Brother (1997), and The River Empties Its Heart (Bilingual 2006). He received the Ga-san Literature Award in 1997. He co-authored the poetry collection, A Lonely Road, (English version, 2007). Currently, he is the editor of Korean Expatriate Literature and the ex-officio president of the Korean Expatriate Literary Association. An active member of the American PEN Center. He lives in California.

About the Translator:

Rachel S. Rhee was born in 1978 in Seoul, South Korea. At age six, she immigrated to the United States. She received the Korean Expatriate Literature Translation Award in 2000. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in English Literature and earned an M.A. in Clinical Counseling at Eastern University. She is now a full-time therapist in Illinois.


Even a beautiful blossom,
the thorn of a rose
deeply deeply
conceals her face
in a small flower.

Once pricked,
even without a drop of blood
injury calls in every possible pain,

Deeply, deeply
calls in suffering
between you and me.


In a family's garden
one step away is too close
to see the beauty of a rose.

A little farther away,
even a genuine gaze
still cannot see the flower vividly.

Three steps away,
seeing from a distance,
my heart-sight is clear.

I now clearly see
your bleeding wounds
by the dagger of my words.

If only we behold each other
three steps apart,
we could move on
hand in hand.


I sense a cancer dwelling within me,
the branches are shaken by the wintry wind,
my eyes are trapped in darkness.

In the garden
flowers also bloom,
butterflies dance.
I hear the cancer-seducing angels.

In the moonlight,
hope sets a bird free.
In the operating room,
the robotic da Vinci blade flashed,
and the cancer left me
murmuring to itself.

Hope is always with me,
. . . like love.

Like the pair of ducks
who never had a quarrel,
I want to build our happiness.