Home Longing
(향수)

poem by
Jeong Ji-yong (정지용)
year of publication
1927
poetry collection
Jeong Ji-yong Poetry Book
(정지용 시집), 1935
song composed by
Kim Hee-gap (김희갑)
song performed by
Lee Dong-won and Park In-soo
(이동원, 박인수), 1989
향수
Home Longing

넓은 벌 동쪽 끝으로
It is where a rivulet winds its way out
옛이야기 지줄대는 실개천이 휘돌아 나가고,
to the east of the vast plain murmuring old tales,
얼룩백이 황소가
as the brindled cow moos
해설피 금빛 게으른 울음을 우는 곳,
making a drawn-out lazy cry in the golden sun.

그곳이 차마 꿈엔들 잊힐리야.
Would I ever forget the place even in dreams.

질화로에 재가 식어지면
It is where ashes in the clay brazier grow cold
뷔인 밭에 밤바람 소리 말을 달리고,
as night wind in empty paddies rumbles like horses
엷은 졸음에 겨운 늙으신 아버지가
and my old father feels drowsy and lies down
짚벼개를 돋아 고이시는 곳,
padding the hay to lay his head.

그곳이 차마 꿈엔들 잊힐리야.
Would I ever forget the place even in dreams.

흙에서 자란 내 마음
It is where I grew up with the earth
파아란 하늘 빛이 그리워
longing for the deep azure of the sky,
함부로 쏜 화살을 찾으려
and getting wet by fresh dew in the bushes
풀섶 이슬에 함추름 휘적시던 곳,
searching for stray arrows I had shot at random.

그곳이 차마 꿈엔들 잊힐리야.
Would I ever forget the place even in dreams.

전설바다에 춤추는 밤물결 같은
It is where a young sister with black under-ear hair
검은 귀밑머리 날리는 어린 누이와
flying like dancing night waves in a sea of legend
아무렇지도 않고 예쁠 것도 없는
and a year-round barefoot wife who is
사철 발벗은 아내가
neither special nor particularly pretty
따가운 햇살을 등에 지고 이삭 줍던 곳,
picked grains with a toasty sun on their back

그곳이 차마 꿈엔들 잊힐리야.
Would I ever forget the place even in dreams.

하늘에는 성근 별
It is where the sparse stars in the sky
알 수도 없는 모래성으로 발을 옮기고,
slowly work their way to an unknown sand castle,
서리 까마귀 우지 짖고 지나가는
while late fall crows fly by squawking
초라한 지붕,
over the shabby roof
흐릿한 불빛에 돌아앉아 도란도란 거리는 곳,
as we chat in a low hum sitting around a dim lamp.

그곳이 차마 꿈엔들 잊힐리야.
Would I ever forget the place even in dreams.
향수

넓은 벌 동쪽 끝으로
옛이야기 지줄대는 실개천이 휘돌아 나가고,
얼룩백이 황소가
해설피 금빛 게으른 울음을 우는 곳,

그곳이 차마 꿈엔들 잊힐리야.

질화로에 재가 식어지면
뷔인 밭에 밤바람 소리 말을 달리고,
엷은 졸음에 겨운 늙으신 아버지가
짚벼개를 돋아 고이시는 곳,

그곳이 차마 꿈엔들 잊힐리야.

흙에서 자란 내 마음
파아란 하늘 빛이 그리워
함부로 쏜 화살을 찾으려
풀섶 이슬에 함추름 휘적시던 곳,

그곳이 차마 꿈엔들 잊힐리야.

전설바다에 춤추는 밤물결 같은
검은 귀밑머리 날리는 어린 누이와
아무렇지도 않고 예쁠 것도 없는
사철 발벗은 아내가
따가운 햇살을 등에 지고 이삭 줍던 곳,

그곳이 차마 꿈엔들 잊힐리야.

하늘에는 성근 별
알 수도 없는 모래성으로 발을 옮기고,
서리 까마귀 우지 짖고 지나가는
초라한 지붕,
흐릿한 불빛에 돌아앉아 도란도란 거리는 곳,

그곳이 차마 꿈엔들 잊힐리야.

Home Longing

It is where a rivulet winds its way out
to the east of the vast plain murmuring old tales,
as the brindled cow moos
making a drawn-out lazy cry in the golden sun.

Would I ever forget the place even in dreams.

It is where ashes in the clay brazier grow cold
as night wind in empty paddies rumbles like horses
and my old father feels drowsy and lies down
padding the hay to lay his head.

Would I ever forget the place even in dreams.

It is where I grew up with the earth
longing for the deep azure of the sky,
and getting wet by fresh dew in the bushes
searching for stray arrows I had shot at random.

Would I ever forget the place even in dreams.

It is where a young sister with black under-ear hair
flying like dancing night waves in a sea of legend
and a year-round barefoot wife who is
neither special nor particularly pretty
picked grains with a toasty sun on their back

Would I ever forget the place even in dreams.

It is where the sparse stars in the sky
slowly work their way to an unknown sand castle,
while late fall crows fly by squawking
over the shabby roof
as we chat in a low hum sitting around a dim lamp.

Would I ever forget the place even in dreams.
Home Longing (향수),
performed by Lee Dong-won and Park In-soo
stela of jeong-ji-yong home-longing
stela of Home Longing
at Jeong Ji-yong's birth home
in Okchun, North Chungcheong Province
(photo from catholictimes.org (가톨릭 신문)

Home Longing (향수) is the best known work of Jeong Ji-yong, who was a prominent figure in Korean literature until 1950 when he went missing, probably killed in the midst of the Korean War. A poem about missing his home in the countryside where he was born and raised, it affectionately remmebers and praises the place, recounting vividly pictured scenes and punctuating each verse with how the poet couldn't forget them even in his dreams. It is known to have been written while the young poet was studying in Kyoto, Japan.

Jeong Ji-yong was well respected in the literary circle in his lifetime, at the forefront of the group who tried their hands on the new and trendy imagistic poetry at the time. His poems tended to be technically advanced, characterized by wide-ranging word choices borne of keen attention and observation. Home Longing is a prime example. It is full of obscure but surprisingly effective words that are cleverly arranged to convey the poet's inner sentiments. As nostalgic home-longing goes, which the traditionally earth-bound Koreans are most familiar with, one could say the work is really second to none.

In 1989, the composer Kim Hee-gap (김희갑) wrote a nice tune to it. The folk singer Lee Dong-won (이동원) teamed up with the classic tenor vocalist Park In-soo (박인수) and rendered it brilliantly in a rare collaboration between a pop singer and a classicist. It became a pretty big hit of an unlikely kind, seeing a lot of air time and raising the long-underappreciated name Jeong Ji-yong in popularity as a side effect.

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Jeong Ji-yong (정지용)

A prominent poet and educator who spearheaded the new modernistic trend of the 1930s through his works on wide-ranging subjects feauring sensual language and keen observation

aritist
Jeong Ji-yong (정지용, 鄭芝溶), poet
pen name
Jiryong (지룡, 池龍)
nationality
Korea
born
June 20, 1902,
in Okcheon, N. Chungcheong Province, Korea
(충청북도 옥천군)
died
September 25, 1950 (unconfirmed)
genre
lyric poetry
major works
Home Longing (항수)
Homeplace (고향)
Windowpane (유리창)
The Sea (바다)
Lake (호수)
The Other Side of the Mountain (산 넘어 저쪽에는)
Cafe France (카페 프란스)
The Road Home (귀로)
Rain (비)
Pomegranate (석류)