Once upon a time there was a man who was alive.

Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States
St. Cuthbert and Disciples in a Boat


Maternal Grandfather

Ch’oi Hong-kwan, our maternal grandfather,
was so tall his high hat would reach the eaves,
scraping the sparrows’ nests under the roof.
He was always laughing.
If our grandmother offered a beggar a bite to eat,
he was always the first to be glad.
If our grandmother ever spoke sharply to him,
he’d laugh, paying no attention to what she said.
Once, when I was small, he told me:
‘Look, if you sweep the yard well
the yard will laugh.
If the yard laughs,
the fence will laugh.
Even the morning-glories
blossoming on the fence will laugh.’

Ko Un, from Ten Thousand Lives (Maninbo)


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