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I Live Alone in Jeju and Can’t Hold My Drink

by Lee Wonha December 09, 2021

Lee Wonha

Lee Wonha appeared on the literary scene with the poem “I Live Alone in Jeju and Can’t Hold My Drink” which came first in the poetry section in the 2018 Hankook Ilbo New Writer’s Contest. She has since authored the poetry collection I Live Alone in Jeju and Can’t Hold My Drink and the essay collection Not Me, But He is My Flower.

When it’s June in Jeju

and the hydrangeas in Jongdal-ri fill out

I’ll pluck a hydrangea at nightfall

squeeze out its juice in a juicer and drink it

I want to take on the hydrangea’s juicy tone

so I watch the flowers every day


Come, step right up to me.


I got to know myself inside and out while living on my own

I found I have an artistic temperament

I paint the big picture every day

Maybe that is why I’m single


My identity knows no end.


When I see the travelers who flock to Jeju

the water bowl behind me spills over

It’s all because my shell is thin and weak

I hope they don’t get hurt

I want to tell them:

Don’t fall in love again

©Yeji Yun

The wind blowing in Jeju has pulled out all my feathers

Progress knows no end.

Every day, I imagine running off to Gimpo

I imagine stealing Gimpo

But I won’t run away

I won’t steal

I’m a strange funny person living in Jeju

I make others laugh and laugh a lot by myself too

There’s a lot to laugh about in Jeju

It’s a hard place to live for a fugitive, though

Your laughter will get you noticed right away

Translated by Agnel Joseph 

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