At the northern edge of the Han River
I saw field-cannons march
down the snowdrifts of the valley.
Wild geese flew low.
I woke to see myself seeing
through field-glasses instead of dreams.
I saw the wild geese strut,
their chests puffed high
like soldiers occupying a village.
The guns fired, barrels aimed high.
I dreamed in spite of the bullets,
in spite of the cartridge-belt at my waist,
forgetting dog tags, frostbite, even my life.
I bow before your grave.
Nothing has changed, you seem to say —
only the atoms rearranged,
the made flesh of my body made ash.
All is as it was:
the rain falling on the funeral home,
the mourners drinking and playing cards,
the wet slap of shoes slipping on piss.
Translations from the Korean