Korea has produced a poet of great originality. The simplicity of Ku Sang‘s http://anthony.sogang.ac.kr/Kubio.htm poetic world has meant that until quite recently his work was undervalue among readers eager for poetry. His parents were Catholics and his elder brother a priest, but he underwent a crisis of faith during his student years. His first poems were writ while he was a student. His poems also allude to the legends of Korean people and traditional culture, Chinese letters and the tradition and Taoist thought. He was a member of the Korean Academy of Arts.
THE PEBBLE – On the path before my house every day, I meet a pebble that once was kick by my passing toe. At first we met casually, brushed past each other, morning and night, but gradually the stone began to address me and furtively reached out a hand, so that we grew close, like friends. Now, each morning the stone, blooming inwardly with flowers of grace, gives me its blessing and even late at night, it waits watchfully to greet me. Sometimes, flying as on angel’s wings, it visits me in my room and explains to me the mystery of meeting, reveals the immortal nature of Relationship. So now, whenever I meet the stone, I am so uncivilized and insecure that I can only feel ashamed.
He was born in Seoul in 1919, where died on a May Day, 2004. When he was a small child, his family moved to the northeastern city of Wonsan. His poetry is mark by a rejection of artificial rhetoric. Pinpointing the pollution of a river as a symbol of the moral corruption of contemporary humanity, Ku Sang http://anthony.sogang.ac.kr/AboutKuSang.html has spoken out on ecological issues. He was an editorialist for the Kyonghyang Newspaper in Seoul. Upon his war experience in Korea, his poems describe the process of surmounting the suffering engendered by that experience.
POETIC FEELING – Each month for this series I select bits of idle chatter such as this and turn out things called poems, so that one young poet, perhaps finding it rather odd, observed, “Then it seems there is absolutely nothing in the whole world that is not a poem?” Right! There is nothing in the world, to be sure, that is not a poem. From humanity on down, in every thing and every act, all that is true, good, and beautiful is all poem. More than that, in every person and in every thing and in every act the good, the beautiful, the true dwells. And it is written that where sin increases God’s grace increases all the more. Discovering that, and then like a child savoring and enjoying it, is to be a poet.
He studied the philosophy of religion, founding his own understanding of Catholicism. Moving to considerations of more general import, Ku Sang https://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/ku-sang-5355444.html begins his poems with the evocation of a personal moment of perception, and in this way, his poem turns into a meditation midst of time. Aware of the significance of history, in its examination of Korean tradition and religious faith, his poem explores the dimensions of human existence. He rejects artistic sensibility without spiritual depth and intellect that lacks historical consciousness.
TODAY – Today again I meet a day, a well of mystery. Like a drop of that river extends to a spring of a valley and then to the faraway blue sea, for this day the past, the future, and the present are one. So does my today extend to eternity, and right now I am living the eternity. So, starting from today, I should live eternity, not after I die, and should live a life that deserves eternity. I should live the life of a poor heart. I should live the life of an empty heart.
Offering the poet a source of personal repentance, his work is ground in his Christian faith. His poetry is a commentary of the inequity and absurdity of modern society. Ku Sang https://www.amazon.it/Wastelands-Fire-Selected-Poems-Sang/dp/0948259825 has written volumes of poetry, as well as essays on social and spiritual topics. His volume Even the Knots on Quince Trees, contains poems evoking his life’s progress through the modern Korean. His work is immerse in the search for a poetic aesthetic that arises from an ontological foundation. At his funeral, the presence of people in wheelchairs reminded his concern for the handicapped, expressed in generous donations.
ETERNITY TODAY – Today again news came of a friend’s death. Well, we all have to go, some sooner some later. I hope my turn comes soon. Is it fear of the pain before we die that makes death so threatening? Surely, there is always euthanasia? However, the dread of something after death makes that a problem too. The lights and darks of that other world. While I evoke in this way the afterlife, my life today is so much amiss. Surely, if I am concerned about the afterlife, should not I already begin to live that afterlife, or rather, Eternity, today?
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