The Young Poet’s Odyssey

By Sanho Kim.

The poet was a young girl.

The dream came to her when she was only seven and her feet were still light on the ground. The world around her was lit with greens and yellows, but the dream was more than color. It grew in shape and size, a halo for her youthful world. And while she didn’t know much, the world was still budding for her, she let the dream lift her away. With it she traveled the cosmos, as she encountered kind strangers, splendid gardens, ancient wars, and so much more. With it she saw the world through half-moon spectacles; the world was eloquent and aesthetic in her eyes. Trees were repeated, the mountains forming lines of four. Clouds danced in the air, forming reflections that were different yet synonymous with the earth. Winds and smells swayed rhythmically, and the world was a song.

The poet was a student.

The dream settled on the ground and stretched its roots as firmly as it could. Weather curved its branches and sunlight colored its leaves. She looked up and saw that the blue was a single hole in the sky, elsewhere crowded by the greatness of others. She stood there alone with her dream, her feet set on the ground. The world grew bigger and bigger, and, soon, it encircled her, and it spread into a jungle and engulfed her. She watched as the heights unfolded before her, moving with the breeze. The rustling was distant, but it was there; the birds were unseen, but they were heard. Every day she studied the great wilderness around her, as sweat and tears watered her dream, which grew thin but taller.

The poet was on her knees.

She looked up once more and caught a bright glimpse of the sky. She saw a pretty child, soaring against the winds, the small feet light on the ground and bouncing in the air. But the world was all around her, and while she was inside it, she knew she didn’t stand on its center. And ghosts followed her, wherever she ventured, singing sarcastic tunes and pulling at her hair. The moon was lit but didn’t light up the road, and traps lurked everywhere, listening to her steps. She looked for the stars, but saw nothing; she built a fire, but the sparks died away. The night was long, and the world was an abyss—she began to wonder if it was still dark or if she had simply gone blind. And blindness scared her, more than anything, for it meant that she was lost, that her dream was nothing but an illusion.

The poet woke up.

She rubbed her eyes and stretched her limbs. The hiatus of the night left her dizzy and woolly, and she felt her blushed cheeks radiating in the morning chill. The earth was cool and calm. It accepted her stumbling steps. It accepted her sleepy warmth. It accepted her dream and let it grow to be abundant. The sweet scent of her imagination was spreading—she could smell it wherever she went, through every door, across every river, in every bird-song, and in the eyes of every stranger. It took her everywhere, anywhere; she was an adventurer, but she was at home. Thus she began the search for herself— and the scattered clues, found anytime in cities, mountains, car parks, meadows, ghettos, beaches, art, etc., inevitably led to her own heart. The world was a carnival, and although she wasn’t walking in its center, she raced through it and she soared above it. She didn’t know much, and for all she knew, she could wake up to blindness, but for now her dream was with her.

She was a young poet.

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