Natasha, the White Donkey, and Me by Baek Seok

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

Photography by Bas Meelker

Natasha, the White Donkey, and Me by Baek Seok (1912-1963)

Tonight the snow falls endlessly
because I, a poor man,
love the beautiful Natasha.

I love Natasha,
the snow falls endlessly,
and I sit alone, drinking rice wine.
Drinking rice wine, I think:

the night the snow falls endlessly
I would like to ride, with Natasha, upon a white donkey
to a remote, mournful mountain village and live in a cottage.

The snow falls endlessly.
I love Natasha.
Natasha must be coming.
She has already come in quietly and tells me:
“You throw away such a thing as the world because it’s muddled,
but going to a remote mountain doesn’t mean you lose it all.”

The snow falls endlessly,
the beautiful Natasha will love me,
and somewhere the white donkey, too, will cry out,
delighted with tonight.

나와 나타샤와 흰 당나귀/백석

가난한 내가
아름다운 나타샤를 사랑해서
오늘밤은 푹푹 눈이 나린다

나타샤를 사랑은 하고
눈은 푹푹 날리고
나는 혼자 쓸쓸히 앉어 소주(燒酒)를 마신다
소주(燒酒)를 마시며 생각한다
나타샤와 나는
눈이 푹푹 쌓이는 밤 흰 당나귀 타고
산골로 가자 출출이 우는 깊은 산골로 가 마가리에 살자

눈은 푹푹 나리고
나는 나타샤를 생각하고
나타샤가 아니올 리 없다
언제 벌써 내 속에 고조곤히 와 이야기한다
산골로 가는 것은 세상한테 지는 것이 아니다
세상 같은 건 더러워 버리는 것이다

눈은 푹푹 나리고
아름다운 나타샤는 나를 사랑하고
어데서 흰 당나귀도 오늘밤이 좋아서 응앙응앙 울을 것이다

Background of the poem : The poetry of this poem, Baek Seok loved a talented beuatiful Korean geisha. They loved each other so much though the reality didn’t accept their love; love between geisha and high school english teacher. Parents of Baek Seok didn’t allow their son to marry her. Unfortunately the fate forced them to be separated. They never met each other evet then. Baek Seok missed her a lot and wrote a poem for her: Natasha, the White Donkey, and me. The pity and sorrow of impossible love appears a lot in the poem.
Symbolism : Natasha that appears in the poem is a Korean geisha who was loved by the poet. The white donkey and white snow illustrates the pure dream of poetry.
Mood : Overall mood of the poem is depressed and sad. A missing feeling of poetry is well portrayed.

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