“Small Love Song” by Hwang Dong-Kyu

Hwang Dong-Kyu

Hwang Dong-Kyu (image source)

I received a letter which held yesterday.
The path that had always trailed behind you
suddenly disappeared
and everything that wasn’t the path went with it.
Scattered stones
which played with us as kids
hide away their faces.
I love you, I love you…and in the cold, clear night sky
I see the steady cracking of gold.
A thin snow falls.
Unable to settle anywhere on the ground,
a pair of flakes close their eyes and tremble
as they drift together endlessly.


어제를 동여맨 편지를 받았다.
늘 그대 뒤를 따르던
길 문득 사라지고
길 아닌 것들도 사라지고
여기저기서 어린 날
우리와 놀아주던 돌들이
얼굴을 가리고 박혀 있다.
사랑한다 사랑한다, 추위 환한 저녁 하늘에
찬찬히 깨어진 금들이 보인다.
성긴 눈 날린다.
땅 어디에 내려앉지 못하고
눈뜨고 떨며 한없이 떠다니는
몇 송이 눈.


“Small Love Song” (조그만 사랑 노래) appears in A Snow Which Falls in Samnam (三南에 내리는눈), which was published in 1975 by Minumsa Publishing, and is a companion poem to “Smaller Love Song” (더 조그만 사랑 노래) and “Even Smaller Love Song” (더욱 더 조그만 사랑 노래).

  • 이것은 너무 아름다워요.

    • 사실은 제가 보기에는 번역이 좀 어색해요… 그래도 그렇게 말해주셔서 고마워요!

  • I love the poem. It speaks to the heart, that’s why I said it is beautiful.

    • It is a beautiful poem, but truth be told when I first read the poem (and even now), it never left me with much of an impression.

      Though, since I haven’t read much by 황동규, I have to admit that might not be most representative of his work.

  • I think it depends with the person. As a writer, to me, it captured the essence of an unrequited love, a love never said. But that’s just my point of view as a fellow poet and writer.

    • That sums it up nicely, and it also brings up something I’ve been curious about for a while now. I’ve wondered if the types of writers that writers themselves and readers tend to enjoy is different in any significant way.

      • it varies of course. different folks, different strokes 🙂 what I might find beautiful, may not be beautiful to you. there’s this one poem similar to this: Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda. Where the poet said: I do not love you as if you were salt-rose or topaz, or the arrows that the carnation shoots off.. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride…