“The Physics of Love” by Kim In-yook

Ever since I first watched the Korean drama 쓸쓸하고 찬란하神 – 도깨비, known in English as Guardian: The Great and Lonely God or simply Goblin, I have been obsessed with the poem the male lead (Kim Shin, an immortal goblin) reads from an anthology the female lead (Ji Eun-tak, his prophesized bride) carries around with her. That anthology became a bestseller in 2016 after audiences fell in love with the piece. Poet Kim In-yook then re-released the original collection of his that contained it, under the new title The Physics of Love, the name of the poem the goblin reads.

The subtitles contain a decent translation, but I thought I would try my hand at something slightly more poetic.

The Physics of Love

Mass is not proportional to volume.

That girl as small as a violet,
that girl who floats like a petal
pulls me toward her with a force
greater than the Earth’s mass.

In an instant,
like Newton’s apple,
I dropped with a thump
and rolled to her
without stopping.

My dizzy heart kept swinging
between Heaven and Earth—
it was my first love.

—translated by David Bowles
September 23, 2021


Original Korean

사랑의 물리학

질량의 크기는 부피와 비례하지 않는다

제비꽃같이 조그마한 그 계집애가
꽃잎같이 하늘거리는 그 계집애가
지구보다 더 큰 질량으로 나를 끌어당긴다.
순간, 나는
뉴턴의 사과처럼
사정없이 그녀에게로 굴러 떨어졌다
쿵 소리를 내며, 쿵쿵 소리를 내며

아찔한 진자운동을 계속하였다

One Comment

  1. I love these Korean poems! I hope you will keep posting them! Thank you so much

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