The Moon in a Well
Yi Gyu-bo (1168-1241)
An acolyte craving the moonlight in a well
Draws water with it into a carafe.
Yet back to the temple, he should see,
Tilting the jar, the moon be gone as well.
Trans by JeoYong Noh
- A Note on the Poet
Yi Gyu-bo was born into a very turbulent period of Korean history; throughout his life, Koryo Kingdom was threatened by the northern barbarian tribes, while the kingdom itself was suffering from the on-going struggle for power between the civil and military factions in the bureaucracy. After passing the civil examination during the reign of King Myeong Jong in 1189, he had served a variety of local and governmental high-ranking posts. In his later years, he was converted to Buddhism.