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I am talking about the children's song entitled 고향길. The lyrics (the second part, actually) goes like this:

내 고향 가는 길 들국화 피는 길
구비구비 산길 따라 꽃바람 일고
산마루의 흰구름 어서 오라고
고개 넘다 멈추어서 손짓하는 길

Looking at the last line, I had been thinking of a child, going over a hill, stopping and looking back for a brief moment, and making gestures to his/her friends saying "come on", and probably repeating this set of actions for several times along the road that leads to his/her hometown (고개 넘다 멈추어서 손짓하다). But if this is the case, the phrase 산마루의 흰구름 has nothing to go with it, and the meaning seems incomplete.

Therefore, I thought of two ways out of this problem. Firstly, it is possible that 흰구름 is part of the phrase quoted by 라고. I.e., the child is asking the cloud to come along with him/her. Secondly, it might be that the cloud, 흰구름, is the one doing all these actions of 고개 넘다 멈추어서 손짓하다. I.e., the cloud, rather than the child, is the subject of these verbs. But both these interpretations seem strange to me (the second is definitely stranger).

My question: Is my reasoning on the right track, or am I completely missing the point? Which interpretation do you think is the right one, or is the poet deliberately being ambiguous?

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흰구름 is doing so. 흰구름 is the one doing all the actions of 어서 오라고 고개 넘다 멈추어서 손짓하다.

It is just that you are unfamiliar with a few literary expressions. You can find such expressions including "고개 넘는 구름" and "구름이라도 쉬어 넘는 고개" on the Web. Such personification is found especially in literature.

You should consider that 손짓하다 is also connected to 오라고: "오라고 손짓하다" because the verb, 손짓하다, requires both 에게 and -고. We can say that "a (pro)noun + 에게 (at/to)" is omitted, and the noun is highly likely to be the speaker as she/he is describing the road. Of course, it may be other people on the road if the speaker is just the observer.

In addition, there is a hint about who can tell someone to hurry and come: 흰구름 is at/around the ridge (산마루).

Therefore, 흰구름 is making gestures at the speaker or other people on the road.

The third and last lines are understood as "산마루에 있는 흰 구름이 고개를 넘다가 멈추어서 어서 오라고 손짓하는 길."

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  • Thank you so much. Indeed I have never seen expressions like 고개 넘는 구름 and 구름이라도 쉬어 넘는 고개. Given these, the interpretation that the cloud is doing all these now makes perfect sense. – user23823 Jul 6 '19 at 11:37

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