I won't come back as a human.
For the afterlife,
an animal will do.
Not a big one;
small will do.
so small it can hardly be seen.
An amoeba will do.
I didn't want that a few years ago.
I could have been reborn
not a man but
an ignorant woman who had lost a few
of her eleven children.
She would do.
But I won't be born as a human being ever again.
translated by Clare You & Richard Silberg
from THE THREE WAY TAVERN by Ko Un
With 135 books published of poetry, prose, drama, essays, travel, translations from classical Chinese and much more, Ko Un was born in 1933. During the Korean War he was both emotionally and physically ruined when he lost family and friends. It was during this time the poet became a Buddhist monk and upheld a monastic life for the next decade. A life of struggle, suicide attempts, an activist in the democracy movement for South Korea, Ko Un had been imprisoned countless times between 1974-1989; at one point there was a terrible plan to lock him away twenty years for treason. A general pardon spared him. His greatest writing achievement may be Maninbo (Ten Thousand Leaves) which holds over 4000 poems in 30 volumes addressing every person the poet has ever met personally or in his studies. His shadow
holds to earth.
photo : www.buddhistchannel.tv/