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Korean Verse Forms, the beginnings


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Korean Verse,   The Korean language is very different from Chinese, however until the 15th century when the Korean alphabet was invented, Chinese was the written language used by the Koreans. The learned men continued to use mostly Chinese although some important works began to appear in Korean. The earliest Korean poems date back to the 6th century but are difficult to separate from the Chinese because of the language use. Because Chinese is a tonal language and the Chinese character is one syllable, exact duplication in English is impossible. The definitions and examples below are as close to transposition of intent as possible.
                 The Anglers Calendar by Yun Sondo 1651

                 Is it a cuckoo that cries?
                 Is it the willow that is blue?
                 Row away, row away!
                 Several roofs in a far fishing village
                 Swim in the mist, magnificent.
                 Chigukch'ong chigukch'ong osawa!
                 Boy, fetch an old net!
                 Fishes are climbing against the stream.

Singing of the Lone Rock 詠孤石 a poem orignally written in classic Chinese by Dharma Master Chong , a Korean monk from the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 B.C.–A.D. 668). co-translated by Korean literature Professor Min Pyong-su of Seoul National University (SNU) and Michael J. Miller, an SNU graduate in Chinese language and literature

                 廻石直生空 平湖四望通
                 岩根恒灑浪 樹杪鎭搖風
                 偃流還漬影 侵霞更上紅
                 獨拔群峯外 孤秀白雲中

The solitary boulder rises straight up to the heavens
And looks out over the four directions from Placid Lake.
Waves constantly splash around the roots of the stone
As tree branches ceaselessly tremble in the wind.
The stone leans in the waves, immersing its shadow
While an encroaching sunset mist transforms its top to red.
Unaccompanied, it juts up beyond the clustered peaks,
Rising alone amid the white clouds.

There are four major native poetic forms in traditional Korean:

  1. hyangga
  2. kasa
  3. pyolgok or changga
  4. sijo

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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