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Sijo Masters in Translation

Korean Sijo by Sŏ Kyŏngdŏk

(1489 - 1546)

Sŏ Kyŏngdŏk lived in or near Kaesong, the capital city of Chosŏn (Korea). He was a scholar who managed to avoid political life, not an easy thing to do in those days. A gifted scholar, he spent his life studying and writing in the areas of literature, phonetics and Confucian philosophy. One of his pupils was Korea's most famous female sijo poet, Hwang Chin'i, a kisaeng entertainer (similar to a geisha) in Kaesong. Unfortunately, only two of his sijo have come down to us. His pen name was Hwadam (Flowery Pool).

Mind, I have a question for you —
How is it you stay so young?
As the years pile up on my body,
you too should grow old.
Oh, if I followed your lead, Mind,
I would be run out of town.

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All Rights Copyright 1994 by Larry Gross. Please do not reprint without written permission.

Updated 071219

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