Someone on the Other End of the Map

blue monarchTwo years ago in 2012, I came upon the poetry of Shinji Moon by chance. This prolific young poet creates a poignant homage to the balance between desire and satisfaction in a lyrical play of words.

Whilst looking up her biography in order to create a legible profile of her, I was astounded by how young Moon really is. She is currently still attending university at NYU, and is about 19 years old.

The first time I read Shinji, I was amazed by her eloquence, both mesmerizing and startling in the images that her words evoke, as though bursting from life off the page (or rather, screen).

Creating a compassionate means to speak about human truth is already a difficult task, but to retain honesty can only be done by staying true to the facts. I think back to traveling miles on end without a grasp of where I wanted to go and where I needed to be, in the summer of 2012, when I spent three months traipsing around Europe with adrenaline and a haphazard goal of fulfillment abstracted from the chaos around me.

At the time, I had only a slight inkling that my lack of direction was fuelled by a sense of adventure, but as the summer wore on, it was the conversations and reunions with old friends and family which resulted in the most incredible moments of my long vacation, whether it was blueberry picking in Poland, or cruising on a boat in Sicily.

It was months later, when I returned to Bangladesh after my travels, and before I was about to embark on a work assignment that increased my exposure with the human rights world in the most significant manner I’ve had a chance to experience thus far, thatI came across the poem, “What Our Parents Never Taught Us.”

The poem provides a succinct and believable look into the connected nature and simultaneous fragility of human interaction. It is a celebration of those who are important to us in our own journeys and paths.

Shinji’s words are the very instruments of light in darkness, surpassing cliches whilst speaking of rituals so many of us take as given, between saying hellos and goodbyes, Shinji reminds us to remember to share whilst searching, or enjoy belonging without pressing to belong, and embrace human longing in the midst of desolation and solitude.

She says these things, and she says these with the soft wisdom of one wise and timeless beyond her years.

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