Pak Yunmuk – The Rice Office

Pak Yunmuk Calligraphy

Pak Yunmuk (朴允默, 박윤묵, 1771-1849) was a Chosun dynasty poet and a petty bureaucratic official. He was of the Milyang Pak Clan (密陽朴氏, 밀양박씨); his courtesy name (字, 자) was Sajip (士執, 사집); and his pen name (號, 호) was Jonjae (存齋, 존재). He was originally from a petty official (署吏, 서리) family. At the recommendation of Prime Minister (領議政, 영의정) Kim Josun (金祖淳, 김조순, 1765-1832) became a low-ranking official in the Council of Ministers (內閣, 내각). Pak Yunmuk learned Classical Chinese from Jeong Ijo (丁彛祚, 정이조, ?-?), a member of the non-aristocratic poets’ circle known as the Songseokweon Shisa (松石園詩社, 송석원시사). After the Songseokweon Shisa was dissolved in 1818, Pak Yunmuk became one of the founders of the successor non-aristocratic poets’ circle called the Seoweon Shisa (西園詩社, 서원시사). The circle met on the Mount Inwang (仁王山, 인왕산), the same mountain as the former Songseokweon Shisa.

糴政 적정

The Rice Office

糴政秋多劇 적정추다극
文書幾等身 문서기등신
吏皆工壅蔽 리개공옹폐
民亦巧因循 민역교인순
手罷煩毫墨 수패번호묵
眸揩漲米塵 모개창미진
公心宜自勵 공심의자려
頭上有神明 두상유신명

The rice office this autumn is very busy.
How many writings and books equal the number of human bodies?
All the petty bureaucrats skillfully block and hide;
Commoners too craftily continue and follow.
Their hands have let go the cumbersome brush and ink;
Their eyes have been cleared of the overflowing rice seeds and dust.
With impartial hearts, they rightfully by themselves toil.
Above their heads exist deities.

Grains • government • autumn • many • to be busy
Writings • books • how many • to be equal • body
Petty official • all • to work • to block • to hide
People • also • to be crafty • to continue • to follow
Hand • to stop • to be cumbersome • hair • ink
Eye • to rub • to overflow • rice • dust
Impartial • hearts • rightfully • by oneself • to toil
Heads • above • to exist • deities • to be bright


  • 糴政(적정) – Refers to a government office that handed out grain every autumn. Also known as the Hwanjeong (還政, 환정).
  • 因循(인순) – Refers to not letting go of bad old habits (舊習, 구습).



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