When trains gone astray collide –
News arises –
And people record it as history –
But when the colliding trains are those
Of thoughts that in my mind reside –
Inspiration arises –
And I record it as poetry
05.23.95 – 06.03.95
Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion
and published in Perspectives, ISBN 0-9686250-0-2.
Notes to this poem…
Hindsight makes me cringe at this terrible analogy, in, both, the sense of taste and content. However, back when I wrote it, I actually thought of my inspiration to be like a train wreck because the way I thought, and still think. That tends to involve a thought heading somewhere like a train, on track towards some intended destination, with another thought doing the same thing going somewhere else because I often have a lot of thoughts going on all kinds of things. An example would me blogging these thoughts, listening to Frank Sinatra singing for my music studies of style, arrangement, lyrics, etc. The song currently playing happens to be The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else, which has caught my ear and mind for its lyrics and concept for a song. I’m also eating supper and thinking what to make for lunch tomorrow. And there are always odd random thoughts floating about that gets sparked by anything from a phrase in a song to something in passing in front of my eyes, and always something simmering in the background like work and how I’m going to convince some Deputy Ministers and other officials on a big Committee to make changes to something they’ve committed to for two years now but isn’t the best of measuring sticks, in my opinion, etc.
Anyway, with that many thoughts floating around all the time, sooner or later, something comes together and boom! We’ve got inspiration, the thoughts go nowhere else and my attention is diverted to address the collision of thoughts that has become inspiration. Unfortunately, if the thoughts were like trains on a track as they were guided towards some destination, their collision becomes an Am-Trak, and there aren’t a lot of pleasant ways to make the analogy to be something else.
Just to be clear, though, when I say “inspiration”, I’m not always talking some grandiose concept. Just a little something that diverts my attention from my thoughts colliding to create something new counts in this sense of the word’s usage, though to be just as clear, I don’t often use the word “inspiration” in a trivial sense, either.
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.