Taklamakan Desert

By Ko Un
Translated by Suji Kwock Kim and Sunja Kim Kwock
Why I’m going to the Taklamakan Desert:
the emptiness there.

Why I’m going to the Taklamakan Desert
at seventy-five, leaving all words behind: the cry
of the emptiness there.

Why I’m going to the Taklamakan Desert:
I can no longer stand
the world’s greed
or mine.

There, in the Taklamakan Desert,
the silence of a thousand-year-old skull.
 
Translated from the Korean