Learning Home / Poetry by Sylvia Yoon Kim


When I walk
I wonder
Do the steps I take
Beneath me
Lay the story
I can call my own

Can it be mine?

This serenity of the
Winding pathway
With trees that are of
Another nature

Birth in a nation
But of two
I ponder

If this place
And my steps
Can still lay
In harmony

Or if it can only sit
Thinly on the surface
Looking upwards
At cherry blossoms
Floating in
Another sky

I’m falling in love
With my surname
But at last the first
Still holds between me
And this land
With its oceans and islands

Can they ever be mine?

When I speak
People stare
Same face
Different tongue

One of two
Two of one

I place my steps carefully



There is freedom in history
Tracing the delicate vines
As they twist gently upwards

I see photos of fathers’ fathers
As foreign to me as an image
In a textbook

And yet

I feel a tingling
In an unexplored room of my heart

Kinship kindling kindly
My mind smiles
At the knowledge

That this
Are mine
This is



I’d really like to add some context to these two poems. For the past few weeks I have been in South Korea, the country where both my parents are from. Now, I was born and raised in America. I consider the inside of myself very American. But as I have been in Korea I have been discovering so much of my country and family’s history and culture. Yet, still the variations of my way of thinking and my English way of speaking juxtapose greatly with this country. It is an odd feeling of being from one nation and also identifying with another.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s