Some run a race to win –
Others run a race to finish –
And depending on how well goals set
Were actually met –
The tears shed at race’s end
Can be for very different reasons –
Rain falls in different seasons
Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion
and published in Perspectives, ISBN 0-9686250-0-2.
Notes to this poem…
You know, I wrote this poem never having ran anything that would have even come close to making me cry. Don’t ask where I had the inkling or the insight to write it, but I have read it over the years after having ran my first marathon in late 1998 and it sounds like something I might have written after a dozen marathons… by which time I might have actually known what I was talking about here!
Still, I love it because it rings true with me and my 20 marathons now, the first 18 of which it took me to qualify for the Boston marathon and the 20th and latest one being my Boston experience in 2007. I’ve thought about this poem a lot after many of my marathons and I can remember crying after at least half of those 20 marathons, including:
The first in Portland
The two badly over 4 hours in New Orleans and Carlsbad (San Diego)
Vancouver on my home soil at the time
Marathon by the Sea in Saint John that was the first in front of my Parents
Huntington Beach when I gave the Finisher’s Medal to my monk Aunt who I had not seen in 20 years and who had taken care of me when I was young and very badly ill
The personal best breakthrough in Halifax’s inaugural Bluenose Marathon on my home soil in 2004 and the devastating one the year after in almost hurricane like conditions where half the course was rerouted because it was too dangerous to run across the mile long suspension bridge
The Boston qualifier in Fredericton in 2006
Boston itself in 2007.
Those were the worst cries, at least. I am sure there were other ones because I’ve had some bad pains and heartbreaks out there on the long road that is the marathon, and the long road to Boston with the 18 tries to qualify.
But talk about insight and foresight! Who knew what was to come in my future when I wrote that 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.