Arrows

by Ko Un

English version by Brother Anthony of Taize
Original Language Korean

Transformed into arrows
let's all go, body and soul!
Piercing the air
let's go, body and soul,
with no way of return,
transfixed there,
rotting with the pain of striking home,
never to return.

One last breath! Now, let's quit the string,
throwing away like rags
all we've had for decades
all we've enjoyed for decades
all we've piled up for decades,
happiness,
the lot.
Transformed into arrows
let's all go, body and soul!

The air is shouting! Piercing the air
let's go, body, and soul!
In dark daylight the target is rushing towards us.
Finally, as the target topples
     in a shower of blood,
let's all just once as arrows
     bleed.

Never to return!
Never to return!

Hail, arrows, our nation's arrows!
Hail, Warriors! Spirits of the fallen!

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Arrows