“The Long Arms of ‘I Miss You’” by Moon In-Soo


Moon In-Soo (image source)

They say you’re walking the banks of a river in that country.
Your small shoulders glisten like a butterfly.
Though I only glimpsed from behind, the image of your return hung before my eyes,
so I held out my heart and long arms in distant communication
but reached only wind beneath wind beneath wind beneath wave.
After 10, 000 ri, still the words ‘I miss you’, an endless river.


그대는 지금 그 나라의 강변을 걷는다 하네.
작은 어깨가 나비처럼 반짝이겠네.
뒷모습으로도 내게로 오는 듯 눈에 밟혀서
마음은 또 먼 통화 중에 긴 팔을 내미네.
그러나 다만 바람 아래 바람 아래 물결,
그립다는 말은 만 리 밖 그 강물에 끝없네.

Note: a ‘ri’ is unit of measurement equal to 0.4 kilometers.


Moon In-Soo (1945—) was born in Seongju in the Gyeongsangbuk-do. His debut work was Common (심상), which was published in 1985. His other books include All Roads Lead Home (세상 모든 길을 집으로 간다), Horn (뿔), Bellybutton (배꼽), Flapping Mountain (홰치는 산).

“The Long Arms of ‘I Miss You’” (그립다는 말의 긴 팔) originally appeared in Daum – 70 Representative Korean Poets.