As North Korea struts and frets upon the stage of the world, pointing its weapons this way and that, most people simply wish the little country would tone it down and offer some solutions instead of more problems.
But then can anything good come out of North Korea, especially worthwhile solutions for the world?
Yes, they can.
And they are being offered up by an 84-year-old poet named Ku Sang.
Ku Sang is Christian. Years ago, while writing editorials for a North Korean newspaper, he started writing down tidbits of verse between his newspaper tasks. When he left North Korea he brought his satchel poems along with him. And they are some of the most sincere, charming, clever and wise poems you'll ever read.
The language is simple and plain, but the poetry is as rich with life as a tide pool.
I stumbled across a couple of Ku Sang's poems while thumbing through an anthology. And like potato chips, I couldn't get enough of them.
In one poem Ku Sang asks God to "Give us eyes to see at least as much as two-week old puppies."
In another, being a good Catholic, he petitions the Virgin Mary:
As you kept on at your son
at the marriage in Cana
until he changed the water into wine,
I beg you,
keep on at your son, our Lord,
like any human mother,
to straighten out our life in this world.
Let me say I seldom turn my column over to other writers, but I think Ku Sang has an important message for North Korea, America — indeed, for the rest of the world. When it comes to "attitude," I think the following poem should be clipped and saved:
Feeling today like the Prodigal Son
just arrived back in his father's arms,
I observe the world and all it contains.
June's milky sky
glimpsed through a window,
the sunlight dancing over fresh leaves,
clusters of sparrows that scatter, chirping,
full-blown petunias in pots on verandas
all strike me as infinitely new,
astonishing and miraculous.
My grandson, too,
rushing round the living-room
and chattering away for all he's worth,
my wife, with her glasses on,
embroidering a pillow-case,
and the neighbors,
each with their particularities,
coming and going in the lane below,
all are extremely lovable,
Oh, mysterious, immeasurable wealth!
Not to be compared with storeroom riches!
Truly, all that belongs to
My Father in Heaven,
all, all is mine!
Ku Sang knows the answer to the world's problems lies in the "good news" of his Bible. And his gospel verse brims with that good news. And all good news cries out to be shared.
Ku Sang, who lived through hell and found heaven, has been wonderfully generous with his discovery.