Caged Bird

A free bird leaps

on the back of the wind

and floats downstream

till the current ends

and dips his wing

in the orange sun rays

and dares to claim the sky.

 

But a bird that stalks

down his narrow cage

can seldom see through

his bars of rage

his wings are clipped and

his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing.

 

The caged bird sings

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom.

 

The free bird thinks of another breeze

and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees

and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn

and he names the sky his own

 

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing.

 

The caged bird sings

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom.

A free bird leaps

on the back of the wind

and floats downstream

till the current ends

and dips his wing

in the orange sun rays

and dares to claim the sky.

 

But a bird that stalks

down his narrow cage

can seldom see through

his bars of rage

his wings are clipped and

his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing.

 

The caged bird sings

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom.

 

The free bird thinks of another breeze

and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees

and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn

and he names the sky his own

 

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing.

 

The caged bird sings

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom.

Caged Bird

Caged Bird

By Maya Angelou 1928–2014Maya Angelou

 

A free bird leaps

on the back of the wind  

and floats downstream  

till the current ends

and dips his wing

in the orange sun rays

and dares to claim the sky.

 

But a bird that stalks

down his narrow cage

can seldom see through

his bars of rage

his wings are clipped and  

his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing.

 

The caged bird sings  

with a fearful trill  

of things unknown   

but longed for still   

and his tune is heard   

on the distant hill   

for the caged bird  

sings of freedom.

 

 

The free bird thinks of another breeze

and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees

and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn

and he names the sky his own

 

 

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams   

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream  

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied  

so he opens his throat to sing.

 

The caged bird sings  

with a fearful trill  

of things unknown  

but longed for still  

and his tune is heard  

on the distant hill  

for the caged bird  

sings of freedom.A free bird leaps

on the back of the wind

and floats downstream

till the current ends

and dips his wing

in the orange sun rays

and dares to claim the sky.

 

But a bird that stalks

down his narrow cage

can seldom see through

his bars of rage

his wings are clipped and

his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing.

 

The caged bird sings

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom.

 

The free bird thinks of another breeze

and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees

and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn

and he names the sky his own

 

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing.

 

The caged bird sings

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom.

 

새장의 새/ 마야 안젤루

 

한 자유로운 새가 날아오른다

바람의 등에 실려

풍향이 끝나는 곳까지

흘러내려본다

오렌지 태양 광선 속으로

그의 날개를 적셔보고

감히 하늘에 도전한다.

 

그러나 좁은 새장 아래로

조심스레 움직이는 한 새는

분노의 철장 사이로

거의 아무 것도 볼 없네

그의 날개는 잘려지고

그의 발은 묶여있어

그는 그의 목청을 열어 노래하네.

 

새장에 갇힌 새는 노래하네

두려움에 찬 고음으로

수 없는

하지만 여전히 갈망하는 그 무엇을

언덕에까지

들리는 그의 소리

그 갇힌 새는

자유를 노래고 있으니까.

 

자유로운 새는 다른 미풍을

적도를 향해 불어오는 부드러운 바람을

새벽 밝은 잔디밭에 기다리고 있는 살찐 벌레를

생각하며, 그는 하늘을 자신이라 부른다.

 

그러나 갇힌 새는 꿈들의 무덤에 서서

그의 그림자는 악몽의 비명에 소리 질르며

그의 날개는 잘리고 발은 묶여

그는 그의 목청을 열어 노래하네.

 

 새장에 갇힌 새는 노래하네

두려움에 찬 고음으로

수 없는

하지만 여전히 갈망하는 그 무엇을

언덕에까지

들리는 그의 소리

그 갇힌 새는

자유를 노래고 있으니까.


    미국에 이민 와 살기 전엔 마야 안젤루라는 시인이 있는 줄도 몰랐다. 아니, 미국에서 생활을 한지 한참을 지나는 동안에도 생활에 쫓겨 시를 잊고 지내는동안에도 몰랐다. 어느 날, 직장에서 리더쉽연수를 받는 시간에 강사가 이 시인이 한 말을 인용했는데 그 말이 가슴에 와 박혔다.


나는 배웠지요: 사람들은 당신이 한 말을 잊을 것이고 당신이 한 행동도 잊을테지만, 당신이 그들에게 남긴 감정은 결코 잊지 못한다는 걸. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.


그리고나서보니, 당시 중학교에 다니고 있던 큰 딸아이가 읽고 거실 책장에 꽂아 놓은 마야 안젤루의 대표작 <나는 왜 새장에 갇힌 새가 노래하는지 알지요>라는 책이 눈에 들어왔다. 그녀 자신의 어린 시절을 회고한 자서전으로, 남부에서 흑인차별이 심하던 시절 성장한 과정을 담담하게 때로는 유머러스하게 그렸다. 여덟 살 때 엄마 남자친구에게 성폭행 당한 후 그녀의 삼촌이 그를 살해하고, 자신이 입을 열어 한 사람이 죽게 되었다는 자책에 수년간 입을 열지 않았다. 어려서 할머니 슬하에 자라다가 친아버지와 세번 결혼 한 친엄마 사이를 오가며 성장하였고, 16살때 첫 임신을 하게되고 친오빠의 권고대로 고등학교를 졸업하기위해 아무에게도 알리지않은 채 그 과정을 견디어내고 아이를 출산하는 것으로 그녀의 성장이야기는 마친다.


새를 무서워하는 나는, 한번도 새장에 갇힌 새의 노래를 들어 본 기억이 없다. 한국에선 콘크리트 벽이 둘러쌓인 도시에서 생활한 나는, 도시의 소음 속에서 새의 노래를 들었던 기억이 별로 없다. 미국에 와 생활하며 새벽녘에 잠이 깨어, 제각기 다른 목소리의 맑고 고운 새소리를 들으며 새장에 갇힌 새의 처철함을 생각해 볼 따름이다. 이 시에서 그녀가 그리고자 했던 흑인 노예들의 슬픈 삶도 그저 짐작해 볼 따름이다. 불과 오십여년 전 내가 현재 살고 있는 마을에 집이 들어섰을 때 백인 외의 인종에게 집을 팔 수 없다는 문서가 남아있는 것을 보았다. 흑인들의 인권을 위해, 더나아가 모든 인간의 인권을 위해 싸워오고 희생 당한 많은 이들에게 더없는 감사를 노래하고 싶다.


우연하게도, 그녀의 이 시를 번역한 2016 4월 같은 때에 나는 김기택 시인의 <직선과 원>을 영어로 번역하고 있었다. 누가 내게 시킨 것도 아니었는데, 파릇파릇 솟아나는 새 생명의 기운이 자유에의 갈망을 일깨워 무의식적으로 나를 이 두 시로 이끌었나보다.


2016.4

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직선과 원 / 김기택

옆집에 개가 생김
말뚝에 매여 있음
개와 말뚝 사이 언제나 팽팽함
한껏 당겨진 활처럼 휘어진 등뼈와
굵고 뭉툭한 뿌리 하나로만 버티는 말뚝
그 사이의 거리 완강하고 고요함
개 울음에 등뼈와 말뚝이 밤새도록 울림
밤마다 그 울음에 내 잠과 악몽이 관통당함
날이 밝아도 개와 말뚝 사이 조금도 좁혀지지 않음

직선 :
등뼈와 말뚝 사이를 잇는 최단거리
온몸으로 말뚝을 잡아당기는 발버둥과
대지처럼 미동도 않는 말뚝 사이에서
조금도 늘어나거나 줄어들지 않는 고요한 거리
:
말뚝과 등거리에 있는 무수한 등뼈들의 궤적
말뚝을 정점으로 좌우 위아래로 요동치는 등뼈
아무리 격렬하게 흔들려도 오차 없는 등거리
격렬할수록 완벽한 원주의 곡선
개와 말뚝 사이의 거리와 시간이
이제는 철사처럼 굳어져 더 이상 움직이지 않음
오늘 주인이 처음 개와 말뚝 사이를 끊어놓음
말뚝 없는 등뼈 어쩔 줄 모름
제자리에서 껑충껑충 뛰기도 하고 달리기도 함
굽어진 등뼈 펴지지 않음
개와 말뚝 사이 아무것도 없는데
등뼈, 굽어진 채 뛰고 꺾인 채 달림
말뚝에서 제법 먼 곳까지 뛰쳐나갔으나 곧 되돌아옴
말뚝 주위를 맴돌기만 함
개와 말뚝 사이 여전히 팽팽함

A Straight line and a Circle/ Kim, Ki Taek

 

A dog next door

Tied to a log

There’s always tension between the dog and the log

His spine curved like a stretched arrow;

Thick and sturdy log strongly rooted in the ground

Their distance is filled with stubborn silence.

The dog’s howl trembling his spine and the stake all night

Every night my sleep and nightmare is pierced by his wailing

The distance between the dog and the log is still straight even after the sun rises

 

Straight line:

The shortest distance connecting his spine and the log

Between his struggle pulling the log with all his strength

And the log without budging at all like the solid ground

The silent space not moving at all closer nor further

 

Circle:

Trajectory of the numerous spines equidistant from the log

Centered at the log, his spines fluctuating left and right, up and down

However hard he shifts, the equidistance is same without an error

The more violent his move is, the more perfect circle it makes

The space and the time between the dog and the log

No longer moves as if it is stiffened like a wire

Today, for the first time, the owner cut the line between the dog and the log

His spines free from the log not knowing what to do

Jumping or running on the same spot

His curved spines still not straightened

Despite no obstacles between the dog and the log

He still runs with his spines curved

He comes back to the log after running away a far

He just coils around the log

The space between the dog and the log is still filled with tension.


     This poem by a Korean poet, Ki Taek Kim, hit me hard when I first read it. I was first worried what would be my kids’ reaction to this poem. They may just dislike Korean poems overall, thinking Koreans are cruel to animals. When my first daughter was five years old, I bought a Korean folktale book to read her a story every night for her bedtime. The first story was about a brother and a sister waiting for their mom at night. Their mom as a single mom had to work hard all day long; one night, on the way back home located far into the woods, she encountered a tiger. The tiger swallowed her and then came to her home in disguise of hers. My daughter started crying, saying that the tiger ate their mom. Next night another story from the book was about a beautiful angel who got married to a woodcutter. She came down to earth once a month for a bath in a lake; as the woodcutter, who saw her secretly, hid her clothes, she ended up marrying him and gave births to three children. When she found a way to return to her heavenly place following a rope, she ran away leaving her kids behind. Then, my daughter refused listening to any Korean folktales. She was too little to see any messages behind the story.


Reading this poem, I saw myself like this dog pictured by it. I was turning to my forties at that time, getting quite tired of all my responsibilities at work and at home. I felt my life each day circling around the same routes back and forth as if I was tied to those piles of responsibilities. After finishing reading this poem, I was crying in fear what if I would never be able to find freedom again. What would my life be after my kids leave for colleges and after I quit my job? Would I ever be able to bear, not alone enjoy such freedom?


2016.4