If I Were…

If I were an Explorer –
I’d find an unnamed, well sheltered cove
And name it after Thee –
To let the world know of the shelter
Provided to me by Thy love –
From how well that cove shelters ships from sea

If I were a Horticulturist –
I’d find a way to hybridize
The very best qualities
In all the roses that exist –
To make one indicative of Thee –
Then I’d name it appropriately

If I were an Herbalist –
I’d mix an aphrodisiac
That could cure even an elegiac –
And I’d call that potion in Thy name
Despite how its effects – by comparison –
To Thy passions would be tame

If I were an astronomer –
I’d seek out a bright new star
And bestow upon it a name as Thine’s –
A tribute to Thee so long as it shines –
To one as worthy as any – in my eyes –
Who deserves immortality in the skies

But I am only a Poet –
I can only write poems of Thee –
Ironically – it will be through poetry
That Thou will obtain immortality –
Love poetry will always reside
In the hearts of humanity

Hence – memory of Thee will be with humanity
Until humanity no longer exists –
All the while that coasts will change –
Faunae will become extinct –
Old formulae will forever be lost –
And out of existence stars will blink –
After that –
It matters little what of Thee exists –
Immortality is only important to humanity
So long as humanity still exists

06.22.95 – 07.08.95



Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion
and published in Perspectives, ISBN 0-9686250-0-2.



Notes to this poem…

The way this poem is right now, it’s too loose for a song. Even Bob Dylan’s song has a bit more structure to this in terms of syllables per line and such. However, I’d love to turn this into a song one day soon!

Basically, the idea was to find ways which I could immortalize the love of my life so I thought of the various things people name which finds ways to last, like geographical names on maps, potions of potence, flowers in botany books, stars in sky charts or even obscure astronomical catalogues, etc. All very romantic, of course, at least in my opinion. Not that I know anything about being a girl but I imagine if I were a girl and someone named any of these things after me to immortalize me in some way, I’d be flattered. There are plenty of less flattering things to be immortalized for, let me tell you!

So for each profession and opportunity to immortalize with it, I wrote a stanza. Then, since I’m not any of these things, came the poet stanza. Of course, I had to make my case as to why what I had was of greater immortality potential. What lover would concede to being second rate to a whole bunch of others? Even a ludicrous claim would have to be made! It’s only human nature! And far more ridiculous claims than mine have been made over the eons, let me tell you!

To offset the arrogance in the start of that last stanza a bit, in me claiming my poetry had greater immortality potential than all the other means of immortalizing someone in a name, I added a little insight about the mortality of immortality in requiring someone in the human race to still be alive to keep someone’s memory alive, or their immortality. Otherwise, immortality dies with the human race and is no more mortal than that. All these people we run around saying having been immortalized, that’s only true as long as there’s some of us around, and in some condition to remember it, of course. A nuclear holocaust would pretty much eliminate the possibility of anyone being immortalized in human society if we end up back like cavemen because of it.

Now, how do I turn this into a song? That’s a good question. Instead of changing the lyrics into something more structured, though, I might just try what Bob Dylan did for songs like A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, where the melody is flexible, albeit a tad boring, enough that it can just be stretched at will to go on and on. Look at the shortest and longest lines and you’ll know what I mean. Now, mind you, the lyrics in Bob’s song are explosive, so damning that nobody really gives a damn what that tune runs like much. I don’t have anything like that in my poem here, but I don’t have that vast range of line lengths on a simple short melody, either.

We’ll see. Just personal notes of an idea for songwriting which I am about to take on a lot more seriously within the next few months as I write this in May 2008.

p.s. I see from Forbes Magazine that Bob Dylan was just awarded the Special Citation Pulitzer Prize on Apr 7 2008, the first rock ‘n’ roll artist to have been awarded the prize! Wow! Way to go, Bob! And you know what? Devastating lyrics like those of A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, among many more, are exactly why he was awared that prize! Like Bob says, only write songs if you’ve got something to say (and I have a song to give the same advice). He had so much to say that he could have said it and it was music, rather than sing it!


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