Blind Poet Tells Her Readers Of Life's Blessings

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Blind Poet Tells Her Readers Of Life's Blessings

A poem from the heart of the sightless can bring hope and joy in life to the hopeless.

Homer is famous for two of the world's greatest epics, "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey". Although little is known about his birthplace and life, we know he was called the Blind Poet. John Milton - "God's blind poet-priest" - and deaf-blind poet Jack Clemo, all spoke to the world eloquently.

Early in September, Yoo Jung-seon, herself blind, started a new life with the publication of her first volume of poetry. The collection of 70 poems is entitled "Awaiting the Dawn in the Sea of Darkness".

"I cried a lot after losing my sight," Ms Yoo says. "I felt like complete darkness engulfed me and there was neither hope nor light. Then later I came to realize that helping others could bring me back in touch with the meaning of life."

Ms Yoo, born with a weak heart, became blind at the age of 27 in 1979 after a fourth operation on her heart. Her blindness first caused her to retreat from the world, until she realized that the tribulations of life are visited not only upon the disabled, but upon all of us. Her first uncertain attempt at poetry resulted in "The Warm-Hearted Man," written in 1996 after she met a government officer, Shin Won-chol, who treated her with kindness and encouragement.

Two years later, in desperate need of help with her writing, she called Yoo Seung-woo, a professor of literature in Inchon University. He helped bring her 70 poems, the result of trial and error over four years, to life.

"I sometimes had to teach her how to fight against very deep-rooted emotions, such as depression and self-abasement, and how to bring herself out of it," Mr. Yoo said. "Her poems are life itself, shaped and molded by her tears."

Whenever she comes up with poetic inspiration, she records it on tape instead of writing. Despite her disability, she puts her soul into writing at every moment.

"It's not just poetry, but the light in my life. Since writing, I have decided to love-even the reality that I am blind," she says, quoting from her poem "Even Reality."

by Kang Min-seok

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