One Stanza Poem O061

The human race has suffered so much
Over the past few hundred thousand years –
It is a wonder we haven’t developed genes
To help ease our sufferings –
And eliminate the process of shedding tears

07.12.95

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

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Notes to this poem…

I don’t know why humans cry. I still don’t and it doesn’t seem science knows much more, either. See this article in the New York Times from 1982 (nice they have it online!). Whatever it is, it puzzles me as being “unncessary”. Other mammals don’t cry, and they do experience emotions. Human’s consciousness can be argued to be higher than the rest, but that’s something completely different from a biological process to shed tears, which seems rather inefficient to bodily functions, to me. I trust the theory of evolution enough to know there is probably a very good answer for why we do cry, but I’m not writing about trust in evolution at work here. I’m just writing about something that makes very little sense to me then, and still now. But if it were useless, they why has evolution not root it out of us after all this time? Goodness knows, history has shown us plenty of periods and events from which there were excessive needs to cry that something as useless as crying should have been recognized by evolution to be such a waste that it should have eliminated it.

The lack of an answer to my questions here only convince me more shedding tears has some real good evolutionary purpose. Just because we don’t know it doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer. But as I said above, I’m not writing about my faith in evolution, just my current perplexed perception of shedding tears as a persistent human trait despite its image of being evolutionarily inefficient.

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.

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