Ku Sang’s Preface
'Infant Splendor' is a phrase taken from my poem 'Dirty Mop Monk'. Beginning with a series that lasted some 3 years in the magazine "Contemporary Poetry" (Hyondae Sihak), the Zen artist Jung Kwang and I have published combined poems and paintings in various reviews, under the general title 'Records of Innocence'. Now a collection of our work is published here. The 'mind of childlike innocence' that we try to portray in our poems and paintings is not that state naturally found in the child before it reaches the age of discretion, but rather the condition of someone who has reached purity of heart by achieving mastery over self. Not, of course, that we claim to have attained such a state; I would rather say that we have simply been striving to fathom what might be the nature of such a state. At a time when the whole world seems fascinated by strategic values such as ownership and profit, in the midst of all this uproar, the fact is that we are eager to achieve such an innocence in our lives.
While we were bringing out our series of poems and paintings, we were criticized on the one hand for being 'unrealistic,' on the other for being 'unartistic'. But since neither of us has ever had any thought of becoming the 'ornament of the age' as poet or artist, it seems not to matter! Indeed, isn't that precisely what infant splendor implies?
We joyfully acknowledge the efforts of Kim Chong-kyu of the Samsong Publishing Company, who is like a younger brother to us, in producing this book as a tangible token of a shared destiny, and would like most especially to greet with great respect the Ven. Hye-ryon of Kam-ro Hermitage, who has encouraged and fostered our friendship.
First Day of Autumn, 1989