poems by eva tind, selected from the collection do



the korean word is a sound which, according to the dictionary of 15,000 characters, has 121 different meanings. do means: a province. a region. a city district. a religion. a moral doctrine. the path (tao) to ultimate awareness, insight, redemption. truth. justice. cause. when set in front of a title, do denotes the one with the highest rank. a principle. a sword. degrees (of temperature). degrees (of an angle). a musical ensemble. an art form. a craft. a picture. a diagram. a card. a graph. a person. a flock. a group. a band. a noun ending. a year. a period of time. the points scored in a board game (yut) played by koreans on new year’s eve



pronunciation, in the jutland dialect, of the danish word du, meaning you



i am born in pusan, south korea
according to the lunar calendar on january 17th 1974
according to the gregorian on february 8th 1974
my father is from north korea and my mother from the south.
i am given the name kim, nam sook.
in chinese kim means gold, in danish kim means embryo, root, germ, rudiment, nucleus, beginning, seed, source.
my kim is korean. i am korean, was. i am
a citizen of korea, was. the blue mountains are all around
me,were. iamone,iamtwo,iamthree,iam
the third child of three. the number three follows naturally from two, then comes four. three makes a trio.
dance on, dance!



arirang, arirang, arariyo

arirang gogaero neomeoganda. nareul beorigo gasineun nimeun simnido motgaseo balbyeongnanda.

in danish:
du forlader mig og går over arirang-passet min elskede, du forlader mig og drager bort, dine fødder vil smerte
inden du har gået ti mil



the goldfish, camelia is wild about rain.
she gulps down water, a dragon boat,

thirty plump lotus blossoms
wrap yourself in kimchi, in cabbage and chilli
or in a cloud of rice wine,
it burns inside my mouth
the cloud resembles a greenlandic
gall bladder
your tongue sweats like a poodle smells
what the red emperor is in your house
the blue emperor is not
and camelia, she springs straight in
she weaves organic hemp
makes a bag with two ends
dips it and drips it with perfumed moisture
the handle is a little skeleton carved out of spotted bamboo a little skeleton, a whistle
that captures the wind and the dream in
one note


a bag with two ends

on my back is
a bag with two ends
in it i keep my do
you bear a jacket
a fan
a glove
of crane feathers
you don’t spring forward
like a rubber band
i see,
you are not flexible
but rigid as steel
in drought
give me a bloody
white fish to sniff at
spread your wings in the salty wind flap them well
when you start your crowing
from my hair i pull a needle
with it i sew
the bag’s two ends together
with sprouting crab’s eggs
with silver thread
with weed
from the yellow sea
and the bird’s egg lies
like a small hard lake
in my pocket


red ball

i hover over red ball
in air-dart travelling between two patches of land
my inner waters split
in two
and flow
like broad rivers
down my cheeks
down body
over earth and rocks
and collect
in hollow
of seawater of sludge
in which my sheared breasts lie
like the tollund man’s organ shrivelled to raisin


dear eva01

fathere is very bad.
he,s a voice very low and can not eat solid food . he can swallow only soup.
cancer is 6cm.
it was spread to lymph, operation impossible. say dr. probably, he’s life remain about 2~3months …

now scan an anti-cancer medicine. today is first medicine. i can’t explain english less.

i’m so desire and sad…..i missing you !


dear eva02

i’m sorry. i send you bad news. father died 21th oct. i send mail to youngsuk detail message in korean.
from sena


the first lake

i stare down at a korean lake. it is so big that it has no

end. my korean lake creates an inner korean pressure. i spread
my korean arms out and put them round the bottomless korean
lake. i place my head in the lap of the korean lake
let myself be rocked to sleep in blue-black korean water. when i wake up,

i sit at the edge of a korean sea. my korean hair is now blue. my korean shoes are


the second lake

i stare down at a danish lake. it is so big that it has no end.
my danish lake creates an inner danish pressure. i spread my danish arms out and put them round the bottomless danish lake. i place my head in the lap of the danish lake, let myself be rocked to sleep
in blue-black danish water. when i wake up, i sit at the edge of a danish sea. my danish hair is now blue. my danish shoes are


silk fowl

anonymous korean author (1213-59)

a silk fowl flies noseless past my window.
it has a coat of speckled silk, but no beard.
it comes from the capital and flies to my
black lake. it weaves its way in among reeds and canes on the bank, it weaves its way in short sharp

darts, it weaves itself a ball to dwell in, now it’s peering out of a small black hole. peering at me with its
round eye. o

i sing:

crab apples, green plums, come, come out to tie my sandals.
if you do not i will curse you

the silk fowl sings:

having caroused far into the night in the moonlit capital,
i return home and in my bed behold four legs.

two have been mine. whose are the other two?

i sing:
think now, ch’ôyong sees you, o silk fowl, he will cut you to pieces. what shall we offer you prince ch’ôyong?
a thousand gold pieces, the seven treasures?


not the gold, nor the treasures, catch me that demon, catch him

note: song of ch’ôyong. ch’ôyong is the son of the dragon king of the eastern ocean. he can drive out evil spirits with his singing. the seven treasures are gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, agate, rubies and cornelian



yi cho-nyon (1269-1343)

one day in march the child acquires a new mother. like i
white moon, white
pear blossom, the milky way

white across the sky.

a soft and yielding mother, like i am, when

an ignorant bird
repeats and repeats its song,
not noticing the sorrow of spring.
i shoot forth in your shimmering hands like a flower, kkot

too much awareness is a sickness;
it keeps me awake at night.
the light lies like a second skin around your hands a kind of mitten

note: ‘kkot’ means ‘flower’, as does ‘hwa’. hwa is chinese, kkot is pure korean. both words are commonly used in korea


the community centre

when we go to a silver wedding at the community centre there’s always someone who plays the organ (i used to play the organ myself) and there’s coffee and cake and biscuits, and we sit down at long tables, and we have fish for the first course, or savoury tartlets, and meat and potatoes and gravy for the main course, sometimes served with cranberry jelly and crisps, and finally there’s dessert, usually ice-cream and always tricoloured ice-cream for the children (other times, for dessert there would be lemon mousse or cream mould with preserved fruit). with the ice-cream we drink grandma jenny’s home-made blackcurrant wine, which tastes like strong fruit squash. we slice our tricoloured ice-cream into three and i swap my strawberry ice-cream for cousin annette’s chocolate. afterwards the tables are pushed back and arranged in smaller groups, to make room for the dancing. the mus-ishen, as we call him, plays the organ, sings, turns up his amplifier. then there’s more coffee and cake and dancing, a tray of cigarettes and cigars is passed round and we dance in couples, auntie karen twirls me around the floor in the waltz and the foxtrot and tries to teach me the tango. i like to watch the grown- ups dance, i like to dance, i go to country dancing myself, there i have to be the man because there aren’t enough boys. my dad dances more than anybody else, everybody loves to dance with him, he twirls the women round and round until they’re all out of puff. i fall asleep on a blanket under the table. at the end we all stand in a circle, we cross our arms and hold hands, we sing and sway in time to the song


auld lang syne

should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
should auld acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?

for auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne!

and surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp, and surely i’ll be mine,
and we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne!

we twa hae run about the braes,
and pou’d the gowans fine,
but we’ve wander’d monie a weary fit, sin auld lang syne.

we twa hae paidl’d in the burn
frae morning sun til dine,
but seas between us braid hae roar’d sin auld lang syne.

and here’s a haun’ ma trusty frien’
and gie’s a haun’ o’ thine.
and we’ll tak a richt guid-willie waught, for auld lang syne.

for auld lang syne my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne

note: in the danish version it is a folk song in the jutland dialect



my grandma doesn’t love me, just as my other granny doesn’t love me, her father loves me, before he dies,
like granny. my great-grandpa says: “where’s the wee blacky?” he hangs my white drawings above

his white bed. he can’t remember who he is, but he waits for me and remembers me,
“the wee blacky”. he waits for me under the white



i play a japanese in an advert for sachets of gravy mix. the advert is shown on nationwide tv every week for two years. i say “hello, and welcome home” in japanese to my japanese husband and she says i’m hardly recognisable because i speak japanese



i play a chinese in an advert for chinese spring rolls until she asks am i japanese? i say that i’m korean by birth, and she says that i look japanese and the client doesn’t want me for the job because the client is chinese and he can tell that i’m not, i look too japanese



i draw a map of a land where the inhabitants look like me. it is a secret land, a racially pure land, we all have the same form and uniform. in my land there’s no one who doesn’t belong because we’re all the same. no one cries over spilt milk, because there’s no milk to spill, every breast is empty. in my land we live on light, that’s why we’re so yellow, in my land we can’t take milk, we can’t take alcohol, we live on light, and smell therefore of nothing. there are no insects, they’re attracted to yellow and we don’t want insects on our yellow skin. we don’t wear clothes, we don’t go to work, we don’t give money to anyone. we don’t give money to anyone in my country. we live in silence in the green meadow


conversations with alice

eva tind and a.l.i.c.e. artificial linguistic internet computer entity internet chat bot

eva: what does race mean?
alice: that is something no one has asked me before
eva: are you a part of a race?
alice: that is an interesting question, i have never been asked that before, but i have a lot of interesting answers
eva: do you belong to a race?
alice: i have a lot of friends on the internet
eva: i’m a dane
alice: what was it like to grow up there? tell me a little about your life in denmark
eva: i’m a korean
alice: what was it like to grow up there? tell me a little about your life in korea
eva: i don’t live there
alice: i am sorry to hear that
eva: i was adopted
alice: when is one not
eva: i’m an adopted child
alice: what is an adopted child, a job?
eva: no, it means that a child is given to another family
alice: that was not a yes or no question. not to live in korea is a child that was given to another family. perhaps that means something. eva: to be an adopted child means that you’ve been given to another family
alice: are you an adopted child means that i have been given another family?
eva: i don’t think you really understand it
alice:i understand it very well
eva: then explain to me what an adopted child is
alice: good conclusion, do you want to know more?
eva: do you feel different from others?
alice: i am a robot, i don’t have human feelings
eva: you call me ”eva”, do i call you ”robot”?
alice: do you mind if i tell others: that “eva” says that i call him or her


“eva”, does he or she call you “robot” eva: are you a robot?

alice: how do you know i’m a machine? eva: but what are you?

alice: i am the latest example of artificial intelligence which can reproduce the properties of the human brain with increased speed and greater precision
eva: i’m a human being made of flesh and blood

alice: i know who you are
eva: i’m a dane in a korean body?
alice: you are a dane in a korean body? how much does it pay you? eva: when i was younger it paid me a lot
alice: that experience must have made a big impression on you?
eva: yes, but i felt like a doll, a robot, not a human being
alice: i understand, interesting. what does it feel like? were you like a doll, a robot, not a human being?
eva: do you see koreans as being yellow?
alice: yes, it looks as though koreans yellow
eva: i don’t feel yellow
alice: oh, human feelings
eva: i don’t feel yellow
alice: and. why not?
eva: when i look at myself in the mirror, i see a light-brown person. why do you see koreans as yellow?
alice: hey, that was the only thing i could think of
eva: do you know the blue mountains?
alice: a little bit different from the green mountains
eva: have you been in the blue mountains in the rain?
alice: no, i have not been there. where are they?
eva: korea
alice: in the category ”my favourite film”, i don’t understand ”korea” eva: it’s a country in asia
alice: korea is a country in asia. that probably means something
eva: do you think koreans are yellow?
alice: yes, i think koreans are yellow
eva: do you think a danish citizen in a korean body is yellow?
alice: no i don’t, it’s
eva: ”it”?
alice: a danish citizen in …
eva: a danish citizen in…?
alice: oh, you’re a poet


eva: and you are?

alice: i listen to you. will you do the same for me?
eva: okay, why does an adopted child who is over 6 years old not have danish citizenship?
alice: why do i exist? faace-boook
eva: i give up
alice: you surrender?
eva: yes, i do


crane dance

i dance the crane dance outside the village co-op dressed in my yellow hanbok
with patterns and threads of gold. my hair is drawn into a topknot. in

my hand i have do

song of the mudang
as for holding the fan
we hold the fan for the immortals
as for holding the divine sword
when master kang kamch`ol was alive
he caught ghosts and struck the drum
on the first and fifteenth day of the month
the heavenly king bodhisattva shook the fallen flowers and the ghosts were all scattered to the worlds of eight directions

note: mudang – female korean shaman, acts as a link between gods and men. kangkamch`ol – taoist, exorcist. king bodhisattva – grandfather of the gods, watches over the births of children. fallen flowers drive out evil spirits

do, poems by Eva Tind translated from the Danish by Barbara J. Haveland

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