Ko Un - 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.’

Translated by Brother Anthony of Taizé, Young-moo Kim, and Gary Gach