“Rainy Day” by Mah Chonggi

I’ve been watching the Korean drama 기상청 사람들: 사내연애 잔혹사 편, known in English as Forecasting Love and Weather. In episode six, there’s a lovely scene in which the two leads (who work for the Korea Meteorological Administration and therefore know a lot about the weather) are reading a lovely poem about clouds colliding as a metaphor for love. I immediately looked up the poem (titled “비오는 날” or “Rainy Day”) and found that it was written by a famous South Korean poet, 마종기 (Ma Jonggi, usually transliterated “Mah Chonggi”).

Rainy Day

As when cloud meets cloud
with a thunderous crash,
so too would I meet you
and cry out, unthinking.

As when cloud collides with cloud
and all the sky lights up at once,
I hope that when I collide with you,
I will see again the path I lost.

The rain’s song sweeps high, then low—
I cannot hope to sing along.
But you are dazzling bright
as you tell me what it means:

“The rain must meet the rain
for either to get wet.”

—translated by David Bowles
August 2, 2022

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Original Korean

비오는 날

구름이 구름을 만나면
큰 소리를 내듯이
아, 하고 나도 모르게 소리치면서
그렇게 만나고 싶다, 당신을

구름이 구름을 갑자기 만날 때
환한 불을 일시에 켜듯이
나도 당신을 만나서
잃어버린 내 길을 찾고 싶다

비가 부르는 노래의 높고 낮음을
나는 같이 따라 부를 수가 없지만
비는 비끼리 만나야 서로 젖는다고
당신은 눈부시게 내게 알려준다.

—마종기

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