Every time the moon rose, she prayed.
Finally Wol-nam’s mother, at forty, bore a son.
In dreams before pregnancy,
she swallowed the moon.
After her son was born, Wol-nam’s mother
would lose her mind
every time the moon rose.
Late at night, washing dishes,
she’d smash one bowl—
the moon then hid in a cloud
and the world grew blind.
From Ten Thousand Lives by Ko Un, published 2005 by Green Integer Press. Translation copyright 2005. By arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.