Army Stew |부대찌

By Jonas Yun Do Ung, Saga’18

Amidst the cold violence of ideologies, an army stew stands for undying love of a family.

Korean

그래, 그땐 그랬지.
자식들이 잠들면
후미진 구석 방
너무나 고달파서
엉엉 울며 세월이 언제 흘러가나 했지.
쌀이 떨어지면
이십 리 밖 미군기지에 가서
해 떨어지길 기다리다
미군들이 탄 트럭이 나오면
우릴 조롱하든 말든
뭐라도 던져 달라며
트럭 뒤를 쫓아갔지.

이제는 끝을 바라보고 살지만
그래도 우리 손주, 이렇게 커가는 모습 보니
그때의 고통을 몰라줘도
이렇게 행복할 수가 있나.
손주는 몰라도 돼.
그 부대찌개 한 그릇이
이 할미는 그렇게 싫었던 걸
자식들 키워야 돼서
이웃들과 싸워가며
구걸해서 겨우 얻었던 햄 한 조각으로
끓였던 눈물의 찌개였던 걸

그래 우리 금쪽같은 내 새끼
많이 먹고 어여 커.
그때는 구걸해서 먹었지만
이제는 돈 주고 사 먹으니까
무언가 허탈하고 서럽지만
우리 손주 행복하면 다 괜찮아.
어여 커서 이 할미의 애처로운 삶
의미 있었던 삶으로 만들어줘.

English

Sigh, that was how it was.
When my children went to sleep,
Crouched in a corner of a dingy room,
I would cry, wondering when time will end
So this suffering shall cease.
When rice was no more
I would walk to the US army base twenty miles away
And wait until the sun dropped.
As the soldiers on trucks marched out,
We would all run after them,
Begging them for any food.

Now I dwell near the end of time.
But looking at my grandson growing up like this,
Despite his ignorance of my plight,
I can’t be happier.
You don’t need to know.
That bowl of an army stew,
I detested it with all my heart.
So that my children could grow,
I would fight with my neighbours
To secure even just a piece of ham
And make the stew of tears.

My dearest boy worth all the gold,
Eat more and grow.
Back then, we begged to our knees
but now we pay to eat them.
That makes me feel somewhat futile and wistful
But if my dear boy is happy, all is fine.
Grow and make my misery-filled life
A well-lived, meaningful one.

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