Parents was a word
Meant to be in the plural form –
But it seems that in society today –
Parent – the singular form –
Is increasingly becoming the norm
Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion
and published in Perspectives, ISBN 0-9686250-0-2.
Notes to this poem…
Up to my undergraduate studies completion at Dalhousie, I was not really aware of the single parent rate in Canadian and American society. I sort of knew of it, I suppose, it was just a statistic that didn’t have a lot of meaning to me because I wasn’t around many single Parents in my privileged world of having known many families that stayed together.
But after my graduation, I was out in the real world more, in jobs outside the university scene of many young people, and in volunteer assignments around the city. In both instances, I came in contact with a lot of people in society and the next thing I knew, it felt like there was single Parents all around me.
Of course, that wasn’t true. It just seemed that way that I once could count people I knew to be single Parents with my thumbs, and then I couldn’t count them all on my toes and fingers within a month’s time. I wasn’t in a demographic that would skew that beyond the statistics, but they suddenly all stood out as I balanced the demographics that surrounded me to be more like the real world from my youth skewed demographics being in university.
Anyway, from that realization of all the single Parents there were around me in the real world came the inspiration for this poem. I suddenly thought it odd there was a singular form for Parents in the dictionary, although this single Parent phenomena had been in existence through out humanity’s history, of course, for any number of reasons. Throughout my life, I had always used Parents in plural form, or Mom or Dad (Mother, Father, and the like) if I were talking about either one. I had never been conscious of using the word Parent in the singular form, although I’m sure I had by that time, but suddenly I was aware of how often I was saying it and hearing it in my communications as I entered the real world back in the summer of 1995… and thought, “how tragic”.
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.