Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter
On a bright spring day, a heat wave undulates; A person comes bearing an a-frame on his back Laden with the azaleas he has picked. The single ladies who have gone to forage for wild edible herbs Pick wild chives and mugwort leaves in a neighboring village field, And come back bearing huge filled baskets on their heads. The married women of the village are doing their laundry in a rocky spring And thanks to the spring air, all sorts of things are sprouting by the stream. When warm spring comes, Men walk in the furrows between the barley fields, But worried that its house built there will come to harm, A lark cries from up in the sky. Once in a while, cars pass by on the new unpaved road, Raising up a cloud of dust. Near the river, there are people digging for clams While the single men and women catch chickens to cook porridge And partake in a traditional pastime of looking at flowers And eating flower pancakes. There are girls swinging on a tree swing, wearing brightly colored han-bok clothing. The lovely season of spring is called the barley hump, Because during this time there are people who do not have enough to eat; Often they can only fill their bellies with seasoned wild herbs. When spring passes, and summer arrives, The trees in the mountains become a lush green, And the children who should be tending the cows, Leave them to graze in the pastures and play in the water all day, Their hands and feet becoming swollen and shriveled like prunes. When from time to time men who have gone abroad come back home,
Everyone knows which families they belong to and who they are. When they return home after the cows are fed, and the hay has been collected, They eat pumpkin mush and noodles, wolfing it down as fast as they can. In the fields, the rice shoots that were planted in the spring are growing, While in another plot, bean and cotton plants are thriving. In the mountains, there are graves here and there, And it is easy to find out whose graves they are, from which family. A man returns from the market that is a few miles away; He comes back drunk and empty-handed, Having spent all the money that was earmarked for groceries. It was earned by selling his precious produce, And his wife’s raised voice can be heard, scolding him. The mosquito smudge drives away the mosquitoes for awhile, But without it, they come back in droves. At night, both the young and old gather with their friends to talk, And the single boys and girls gather together to play. During the fall, there are sports days and the harvest festival, And the crop planted in the spring and summer Are gathered bale by bale, then spread out in the field. The trees that were green in the summer Begin to turn red and orange, While the grass changes to a faded yellow. When strong winds begin to blow, It signals the beginning of winter. In the winter, people go to collect firewood, And at night, they sometimes steal kimchi to eat, Or even chickens, and play cards under a kerosene lamp. Late at night, when they are ready to head home, The floor has cooled and is chilly. In foreign lands, far, far away, Some places have four seasons – spring, summer, fall and winter. In some places it is summer all year long, And there are other places that have only summer and winter, But no fall or spring. There are many different kinds of places in the world. When I was younger, I often went hiking, And in my own way, thought a lot about the futility of life. The scenery of the mountains was always different, In spring, in summer, in fall and winter, No matter how often I went. Famous mountains gained their fame For being similar to the haunts of divine beings. America seems so big and wide to me, Because I come from a small country. Here in this place, my will, my purpose will be fulfilled: A world without divisions between nations is being made, And mankind will become one.
Drawings and writings of Woo Myung