The Poet Who Commutes to His Backyard

My translation of 마당으로 출근하는 시인 by 정일근 (Chŏng Il-gŭn):

For as long as I’ve lived at the base of Kettle-Leg Mountain,
I’ve sat at a wooden desk someone left in the yard
to write my poems. I spread open my journal
and scratch away with a stubby pencil.
While my old coworkers are putting in their hours,
I’m at my new office, a mountainside clearing,
and poems are the only work I have.
I’m paid no salary,
nor do I earn any health benefits, but
because I’ve found my calling, I am content.
At my new job, my coworkers are the flowers, the wind,
the clouds. When I mutter a poem to myself,
the blossoms perk up their petal ears and listen in.
And at lunch, when I leave my desk for a moment,
the wind furtively turns my notebook’s pages,
and the clouds steal a peep at my poetry before dashing off.
Tomorrow, they’ll show me a better poem,
just to embarrass me.
So that I don’t lose out in this rat race,
I dutifully make my daily commute to the backyard.