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The Game

At this point
Love is a game
Of doubt, of hope,
Of joy, of pain

Yet something is
I can’t explain
What draws us back
Into the same

To have, to want
To hold, to see
A life in which
All joy is free

A simple yearning
To be together
For better, for worse
For pain, for pleasure

And even though
Our time goes fast
If it doesn’t start
It can not last

And so you feel
What can’t be told
A feeling felt
By young and old
That can’t be taught
That can’t be sold
But you can’t win it
When you fold

So we back fall into
The same
Drawn back from hurt
Into the game

-Donald Guy
2004

Strangely for a poem about love, I'm not sure there was any specific inspiration for this piece. Given the time frame, 2004 (8th Grade), I would say it was the coming realization that I had wasted my time in 7th grade pining after a girl who was never really interested in me as more than a friend. (I can also attest I was not the only one pining over said girl). If my memory of context is right, which it may or may not be, I wrote it one evening shortly before bed. Back then I was still in the habit of taking showers in the evening and I would often sit down and more or less meditate (though I didn't think of it as such) while warm water soothed me. It is my recollection that after doing so, I was struck my inspiration and started rehearsing the poem in my head, writing it down as soon as I had access to a computer.

I don't know wether I intended to share it with anyone at the time, but it was sort of a thought of renewal. I really don't remember when in 8th grade it fell, but it had to be in about the second half. At such a time I realized that going into high school I had new opportunities in the romantic field. In fact, 9th grade I did have my first real girlfriend (whom I am still good friends with) and I believe she is the first one I showed it to. I believe I first showed it via instant messenger. At the time she was a big fan of the art sharing site deviantArt (a misnomer really, there is nothing particularly devious about it). Following suit, I uploaded this and two other poems from 2003-04 to the site. Since then, I suppose a few people have read the poem either at my prompting or not. I got one favorable comment on it and a “favorite” on it by a total stranger from Phoenix, AZ. I like that a private reflection of hope can be shared with strangers. It plays well since the poem is itself about a concept of universality about approach to Human nature in love.

I really do like this poem. It is probably one of my best works (unfortunately most of my earlier work has been lost to hard drive crashes so its hard to compare). It has a certain simplicity in expression that, while making it a little pedestrian, juxtaposes wonderfully with the deep message. It has a simple, fairly regular form and pretty decent rhythm—this is impressive to me because I know I wrote it spur of the moment, with little thought. (Its ad hoc expression like that that I miss as its not something I do often anymore). As for the imagery itself, it is relatively cliché, I admit: love as a game. But I used it very effectively, especially for one who didn't really know what he was talking about.