A Stanza Of Medieval-Renaissance Korean Poetry

I woke up this morning with a fervent desire to study and download the literature of ancient East Asia, and have so far dug up this gem from Korea, the second canto of the “Songs of The Dragons Flying To Heaven“, written in the fifteenth century—

A tree with deep roots
Because the wind sways it not,
Blossoms Abundantly
And bears fruit.
The water from a deep spring
Because a drought dries it not,
Becomes a stream
And flows to the sea.

I think I prefer James Hoyt’s translation to my own. I could make almost no sense out of the early Hangul used to write this poem, but the modernized Korean did resonate inside me, and I am able to provide my own translation—

Roots deep tree
Even the wind something not only
Flowers are good and
Lots of seeds.
Teacher’s deep water
Something something not something,
Becomes brussels sprouts
Sea something.

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