The girl I marry will have to be
Along the lines of something celestial
In the realm of the terrestrial –
I would not settle for anything less –
But she need not be angel nor goddess –
‘Twouldst suffice – if she were poetess
07.11.95 – 07.12.95
Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion
and published in Perspectives, ISBN 0-9686250-0-2.
Notes to this poem…
This poem was built entirely around the “celestial” and “terrestrial” rhyme that popped in my head one day while I was brushing my teeth. I still remember the moment. The ability to compare heaven and earth with a rhyme was suddenly feasible, and comparisons between heaven and earth are among the most common made in Western culture, and a lovely hyperbole, even if a bit cliché, albeit a classy cliché that never gets old.
Along the lines of cliché, reserving it for a love, especially the love of one’s life, is just more cliché. How many times have you heard a beautiful woman being referred to as a goddess? Fortunately, I had some sense to break the cliché monotony with a line about how a poetess would be just as good as a goddess to me.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found this to be true over the years. Poets and poetess, alike, tended to be a bit more self-destructive and unassuring than for my liking. I was thinking of the image I had created for myself of Emily Dickinson as an astounding poetess with tremendous insight, neglecting her severe insecurities. However, the occasional poetess I have actually met in life have given me enough justification to not call this poem a lie, though I did not write the poem about any one of them, in particular. Most I had met after I had written this poem.
As for not settling for anything less (than a goddess), I haven’t. This, I can’t say for some people I’ve known over the years where they are attached to someone I’m sure if you told them in their youth or early adulthood they’d be with at their current age, they’d slap you for insulting their tastes or inferring they were desperate. But whatever has changed in them, I’m writing a song to ask just that question.
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.