The Haze of Imagination

There was once a girl who was curled up on a stool, in the corner of a bookstore, reading a book.

She was oblivious to the passers-by who milled around, picking up and dropping down books at a leisurely, unhurried pace.

As they strolled by, some noticed the still, unmoving frame of the girl transfixed by the pages of the book of poetry that she held in her hand. Of these who noticed the girl, a few casually threw a glance at the book in her hand. A cursory look shows that the book’s outer appearance and wrapping of were a standard kind. It was nothing to raise their curiosity, stop their pacing, or to explain the girl’s raptured expression. The spine was a deep yellow, on the border of that kitsch kind of yellow, and it was joined to the aquamarine blue of the cover and back cover in that standard straight line running down the length of the book. If anyone bothered to have a guess at what the book contained, they would be likely to think that the book was a textbook, part of a series of non-fiction, instructive guides that needed such distinctive, unflattering colour combinations on the covers to distinguish them from others on the shelves.

But its ordinary appearance disguises its extraordinary world.

The girl herself was deeply lost in its world of poetry.

Time passed without the girls’ awareness, and outside the windows, the light faded from bright white to a soft pink, and then into a gradually darkening blue.

Too soon, the bookstore owner came over and gently woke her from her trance.

She vaguely acknowledged her presence, not out of a lack of manners, but simply that she had not made the transition from the fictional world into reality, and viewed the bookstore owner through a foggy, almost impenetrable mental haze.

As in a dream, she picked up the book with one hand to place it back onto the shelf. For the first time, she was aware of the plastic, slightly stick texture of the book covers, and this marked her gradual rising from the depths of the world of poetry. She was conscious of the touch of her hand on the book cover, and of the rightness of things as her hand left it on the shelf, because the yawning gap that disrupted the flow of books down the shelf was now filled with its original occupant.

What she couldn’t accomplish though, was to thoroughly remove the poetry’s cast of a foggy haze over her mind. She blinked and stretched, aware of her stiff limbs and complaining muscles, but when she slowly looked around her, she found that the world looked different.

It was as if the air itself was heavier, but at the same time nobler, as if the poetry had straightened it out like creased linen. It no longer hung limply around, transparent and ignoble. Instead, the air seems to shimmer, seems to hum to itself, and gently flows and moves through space. Perhaps it was not moving with a purpose, but it was alive, gently moving and content with its existence.

It was as if the search for the latent energy of words of poetry had honed her perception of the world too, so that even now that the book had left her hand, she was now skilled at perceiving the latent energy of things, and there was no going back.

Things came alive and it was as if suddenly all things were shimmering on the surface, bubbling with life.

With this one book, the girl’s life was transformed.

All of life became poetry, where its ordinary appearance disguises an extraordinary world.

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