The prospects for the world used to be
As bright as the sun at noon –
Now – prospects are a lot grimmer –
And the future looks a lot dimmer –
Somewhat characteristic of a waning moon –
A mere reflection of what it used to be
06.23.95 – 07.23.95
Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion
and published in Perspectives, ISBN 0-9686250-0-2.
Notes to this poem…
A little poem expressing that sentiment more common among older people about how the world is getting worse every day, using astronomical terminology metaphors. Here, the sun is symbolic of the world’s once bright future and a waning or shrinking moon, decreasing in brightness, symbolic of a grimmer and dimmer future, with dimmer being in terms of outlook and the more literally light intensity. Then it is a play on the expression of something or someone on the downside of some once glorious quality as being a mere reflection of whatever it/he/she was. The play on the expression comes from the fact that the moon generates no light of its own, but rather appears luminous to us because of the light it reflects from the sun. Thus, in the moon, the characteristics of being dimmer than the sun, a reflection of the sun and waning to decrease in light intensity is a triple comment of the metaphor of the future of the world getting worse all the time.
I don’t necessarily think the world is getting worse all the time. It has its years and moments. However, the year and time of year during which I wrote this poem in 1995 wasn’t particularly memorable for me aside from all the poetry I wrote. I had no clue where my life was going, but I didn’t like where it was going, either. I was just out of my Honours B.Sc. with no intention of doing chemistry work in the future. I did not participate in sports, music or party a lot. Didn’t have a lot of friends, no close friends and no significant other. Good thing on the last, too, cause my overbearing Parents would have driven me over the edge if I would have had to have dealt with them and a girlfriend. They were driving me nuts as it were.
But you know, many a times, I’ve looked back on this time and thought if I got something as good as a poetry collection out of those years, to turn so much despair into something I would cherish for the rest of my life, I really felt I could deal with anything life would give me as I would find a way to make something positive out of it.
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.