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The calmness of day

In the space of morning sky, which

Bordered on boredom

Was erased from his eyes.


“I will give you some ramyun

When you finish this exercise,”

I told Sung Hyun, with my pen.

His face responded to the surprise.


A Korean joy

Appeared before me then —

A diligent boy

With a glowing ken.


His fingers were nimble

As he wrote “Passion;”

He would have to forget Hangul

For a while, for ramyun.


There appeared an odyssey of words

On his paper white,

And as he thought of his snack,

He continued to write:

The ten most beautiful words

In the English language are

Love, Mother, Eternity,

Fantastic, Smile, Tranquility;

Destiny, Liberty and Freedom, too —

And Passion, which he already knew.


He finished the test on usage fast,

So, I had a promise to fulfill without delay.

Though his S-TV-DO needed a rehash,

There’d be other days.


His nimble fingers began work anew

With noodles, his expertise.

I watched him intently as he showed me how

His life began with two sticks.


Ruth Sonsaengnim

June 16, 2009


*sonsaengnim –  teacher

*ramyun -ramen/noodles

*Hangul – Korean Language

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