The sounds I cherished most living here
In Canada – over the years –
Include those of joys, laughter and cheer –
And silence – from lack of cries of fear –
And of artillery fire I do not hear
10.27.94 – 12.24.94
Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion
and published in Perspectives, ISBN 0-9686250-0-2.
Notes to this poem…
MY Theory of Relativity is pretty simple, not unlike Einstein’s if you melt it to its core, stating that everything is relative to everything else. Only this way can you truly put anything in perspective. For example, if you were happy all the time, how happy can you really feel in what might be a really happy moment? If you had not known of the bad times, do you really think you would appreciate it as much as if you did?
Life wasn’t feeling great for me during late 1994, and a pretty dull and lonely Christmas season at that. However, in reflection, I realized how good I had life here in the West compared to those elsewhere. I’m not talking about something like love and friendship that can be shown in any condition, but rather the peaceful and comfortable life that allows for more times to have fun and not worry so much all the time about the basics in life, including life threatening conditions in which one might have to live. Having experienced some of those times in Viet Nam as a child, severely shielded from it all by very caring Parents so I still never really knew the full brunt of it, I was able to put my life in late 1994 into perspective and feel much better about it. It’s not an “out” to just look at life of others less fortunate to feel better about my life, but it’s the truth. I’m not picking people in shelters and such here, who often but not always end up there by actions of their own choosing. No, I’m looking at most of the rest of the planet. It’s the way life is, and everyone should have to keep that in mind to keep a life perspective, as far as I’m concerned.
As for why this little poem took so long to write? The last two lines. I had been brainstorming choices to go along with the second and third line the various times I had revisited the poem from the starting date. Only in the peace and quiet of my lonely Christmas Eve in 1994 did the silence spoke to me and I heard the last two lines call out to me and voilà, I had my poem.
The O-series of poems are one stanza poems composed before I got onto writing haiku and tanka, and short poetry while in action or traveling by select means like plane or ferry. These poems are 3-9 lines long with at least one rhyming couplet, and not of the short forms just mentioned. For the sake of elegance, I just called the collection One.