If you truly
Love somebody –
You should want them
To be happy –
Whether or not
That happiness –
Will include you
Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion.
Notes to this poem…
This was a hard thing for me to reconcile until I was in my 20s. That would be a couple of decades ago. I just never got it into some more rhyming verse than the one here, but I’m caring a lot less about rhyme scheme these days than when I was writing poetry 20 years ago.
The message of this poem is hard to reconcile because there’s usually a lot of negative emotions when someone you love, whether as a partner, family, friend or otherwise, decides their happiness doesn’t include you, or you to the extent you’d like it to be. There is a lot of feelings of rejection, betrayal, anger, among other things. Sometimes, you can even see what they chose over you isn’t going to bring them happiness, or at least not in the long run, but you need to let go and ask yourself how much do you really love someone if you want to see them unhappy? Sure, you might bear the consequences of their decision, and it won’t be easy to reconcile in the immediate days, weeks, maybe even months after that decisions. However, if you ultimately want to see someone unhappy, no matter what the reason, you might want to question how much you really loved them. And if it turned out you really didn’t love them that much, then perhaps you should realize how much you did not really love them.
A logical deduction for an emotional dilemma, I know. Ain’t gonna be a lot of people buying in to it. Hey, nobody ever said all wisdom was going to be popular!
The original intent of this poem from many years ago was centered on romantic love, but I’ve also come to realize this beyond that. Fortunately, I am glad to be able to say it’s only had to apply to romantic love for me. While not “fortunate” for this to have happened in love, I think most people will have had some romantic break-up that it’s nothing uncommon that I’d have experience in love. Not having family or friends exclude me to the extent this would imply, that’s a bit rarer, and more tragic like familial love that a lot of people think should be unconditional.
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.