“The Little Spring” by Ko Un

Without its little spring,
what would make Yongtun Village a village?
Endlessly, snowflakes fall
into the spring’s dark waters
and dissolve.
What still still stillness,
as Yang-sul’s wife,
covered in snow, goes out to draw water,
puts down her tiny little water jar
and picks up the gourd dipper but forgets to draw water,
watching snowflakes die:
that still still stillness.

(Taken from Wordwithoutborders)

A simple vignette from the life of a Korian villager,Yang-sul’s wife  .The act of her drawing water  in the morning from the spring covered by snow-flakes is exquisitely described in unpretentious poetry. The description is almost a painterly one .”..picks up the gourd dipper but forgets to draw water/watching slow-flakes die :” is delicious. “That still still stillness” is a beautiful description of still life.


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