Kwon Pil – My Mother-in-Law is Wicked

Kwon PilKwon Pil (權韠, 권필, 1569-1612) was a Chosun dynasty poet, writer, and Neo-Confucianist. He was of the Andong Kwon clan (安東權氏, 안동권씨). His courtesy name (字, 자) was Yeojang (汝章, 여장) and his pen name was Seokju (石洲, 석주). He, like Kim Satgat (金笠, 김삿갓; 金炳淵, 김병원, 1807-1863), did not take government office and instead wondered around the countryside writing poems. The following is one poem in a series of four poems he wrote called, Four Birds Speaking (四禽言, 사금언). This poem is in a genre of Classical Chinese poetry (漢詩, 한시) called Bird Speak Poetry (禽言詩, 금언시), because it is supposed to mimic the sound of a cockcrow.

姑惡 고악

My Mother-in-Law is Wicked

姑惡 고악
姑惡 고악
姑不惡 고불악
婦還惡 부환악
摻摻之手可縫裳 섬섬지수가봉상
桑葉滿筐蠶滿箔 상엽만광잠만박
但修婦道致姑樂 단수부도치고락
何須向人說姑惡 하수향인설고악.

My mother-in-Law is wicked!
My mother-in-law is wicked!
If my mother-in-law is not wicked,
My daughter-in-law is wicked!
Her thin and slender hands can sew skirts;
The mulberry leaves fill the the basket; and the silkworms fill the basket.
Only if the daughter-in-law’s ways are cleaned, will the mother-in-law reach happiness.
How should I facing others tell that my mother-in-law is wicked?


摻(섬) – To be thin (가늘다).
筐(광) – Basket (광주리).
蠶(잠) – Silkworm (누에).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: