TLDR; This Korean poem translation into English is offered for anyone that may need it, and also in hopes that i may learn something from feedback from my peers at this site.

THE LONG EXPLANATION: I have worked on a translation for this poem by the poet Han Ha-un. There are many ways to interpret the gamut of feeling that 어쩌구니없는 produces. I specifically wanted to highlight two facets of this word, and fortunately the poem lent itself to doing so. Before Han calls God inhumane in the second to final line...i feel Mr. Han being trapped. But on the final line, i chose "ridiculous" given that even though it is inescapable, if God is inhumane to punish sin where it was not to be punished, then it is more ridiculous even if also inescapable.

Note: i have found people here a little critical. I would like to learn more about how others might translate this, and the reasons behind why - but this is not math...there are perhaps infinite solutions. So please be nice - or there will be 벌 for you, too :)

I do hope this translation is useful to others, and so in that vein, please share any constructive thoughts that you may have to offer.


"罰" - 한 하 운 / "The Punishment" - Han Ha-un

"죄명은 문둥이...../ 이건 참 어처구니없는 벌이올시다.

“For the sin of leprosy… / the punishment is inescapable.

아무 법문의 어느 조항에도 없는/ 내 죄를 변호할 길이 없다.

No provision of legality / defends me from this sin.

옛날부터/ 사람이 지은 죄는/ 사람으로 하여금 벌을 받게 했다.

Eternally / humanity sins / punishment for sin comes upon humanity.

그러나 나를/ 아무도 없는 이 하늘 밖에 내세워놓고

But my sin / comes from a sky with no humanity.

죄명은 문둥이...../ 이건 참 어처구니없는 벌이올시다."

For the sin of leprosy… / the punishment is ridiculous."

Thank you.

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