Pyongyang at dawn


Burn yourself out
don’t burn by halves
burn and burn
till you turn to ashes
what use is
a halfburnt stump? 

If you’d stop halfway
just don’t start
stay unburnt
like greenwood
but if you’re for burning
burn yourself out
burn all the way
burn to ashes

“Love” by Lee Un-sang (Rohsan), 1903-1982 

Translation adapted from Master Sijo Poems From Korea, Classical and Modern,
selected and translated by Jaihiun Joyce Kim. Seoul: Si-sa-yong-o-sa Publishers, 1982