by Becky Nava
Love is perhaps the most universal emotion of our existence. Benjamin Kim appeals to that doting romantic in us all in his poem “Sonnet”. The speaker begins by highlighting the physical attributes that the object of his affection maintains, their “celestial beauty” and brown eyes. Then the poem goes on to praise their vivacious personality, “your laugh breathes life”, as if the giggles are capable of generating the conditions for our existence. Yet it is in these comparisons that the speaker’s notions of love transcend the bounds of corporeality and confines of time to depict a more timeless love between two souls. He connects our most "universal" emotion to metaphors of the universe itself. This is where the main source of beauty behind the poem lies for me, in his illustrious comparisons to the celestial and galactic.
Herein the speaker is self-aware, noting that other poet’s may focus their attention on the romantics of the moon and all of its illusiveness. Though to combat the cliche of this ideology, he cleverly states, "for the moon most certainly writes for you", as if to say that all other poets have missed out on the true beauty of the galaxy by writing about the moon!
The speaker’s use of color as a means of description supports the celestial background he works
to concoct. By referencing a wide array of colors throughout the poem, he mimics the ever
changing sea of colors found in the stars and planets. This impression is furthered in the lines,
The blue sky rushes to pink at high noon
For the sunset bleeds each day to please you
Kim plays with manmade concepts by showing the evolving colors as a means of highlighting how the time of day is connected to his inner world of emotions, ultimately portraying a soul with a universe of its own.
“Sonnet”’s romantic depiction of the galaxy is ultimately effective as a means to describe his
adoration as timeless. Furthermore, it illustrates the grander comment on a bond between on
souls overpowering notions of space and time.
Benjamin Kim's "Sonnet" appears in the Fall 2017 issue of Inscape magazine.