Poetry – There are no rules – a poem about compromise and sharing.

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There are no rules

I was sitting in front of my computer, toying with the idea of starting to pick up the rewrite of one of my early Sci-fi novels. It was a book that I had written back in the 1970s and was my fourth attempt at a novel. Last year I had started to rewrite it and reached a quarter of the way in before becoming bogged down. My writing back then was not as good as now. The novel also had serious flaws in structure which I was trying to address as I went along so it was not merely a question of improving the standard of writing. I reached an impasse. I lost my mojo. I no longer had the desire to spend the effort sorting out the book to make it work. But I wanted to complete the rewriting of my back catalogue so that I had them all. No matter how flawed they were my babies. I had given birth to them all. I wondered why.

I keep receiving adverts from Curtis Brown regarding writing courses on how to write a novel.

I find those advertisements annoying. I have no desire to learn how to write a novel. I have no desire to learn how to write.

I want to write something different and unique. I want to express the essence of my thoughts, dreams and stories in my own manner.

There are no rules.

There are games we have to play in order to become published.

Do I wish to play those games?

I play with words. I distil the essence of ideas, feelings and stories from the ether of my mind, through symbols on a page, to burst in a firework display in the minds of those who read my words. It is futile. No matter how well I deploy those symbols the display in my universe and yours will be different. It is compromise.

Each one of the symbols I use is an invention. It was created in the mind of another being to encapsulate a concept. When that inventor first grasped that symbol it was alive with all the nuance and possibility in the universe. As soon as it was shared it was robbed of its infinite nature to become a compromise. No two people inhabit the same universe. We peer through misty lenses into the worlds occupied by others.

We deploy symbols to create empathy and give insight. Our symbols are flawed.

We deploy grammar so that our concepts are clear – each symbol of grammar an invention, an interpretation, an approximation to enable understanding. Yet there is no absolute communication ad there are no rules. We can invent our own.

We follow the rules of life because it is easier to do so. And in so doing they prevent us from seeing or thinking – because there are no rules. The universe of our consciousness is free; it is rich in possibility.

Yet we do not wish to exist alone.

So I wrote this poem for you


There are no rules

There are no rules for poetry or life,

Nothing to guide us through,

Only convention that we adhere to blindly.

Each moment is the first;

Born anew from the void

Of time in which all things are forged for the first time.

We are as free as swallows on the edge of the wind,

Yet we choose to trudge the ground.

We are free to create at will, everything gleaming in sunlight,

Yet we choose to pedantically follow rules that do not exist,

That bind us to form,

That shackle us into a structure

That does not exist,

So we live a life of twilight.

Every single word was an invention

From an unfettered mind who grabbed it from

A vacuum.

Unshared it was unique and free

But when used between the closest friends

It assumes a more sinister

Approximation of meaning and ties the two together

In a travesty of its truth.

For we can never share a single thing without adulterating its essence;

Never understand a single word –

For our thoughts and feelings are unique

And there are no rules.

We learn the words and grammar

And apply them, with rhythm, to express our deepest dreams and wishes

But in so doing tie those infinity ideas, all teeming with unique nuance

To finite concepts and lose the playful wonder.

Strained through the minds of others,

Who see reality as symbols,

They are misinterpreted in other reduced universes;

For there are no rules

And communication is a fool’s game

Which forces us into compromise

And drains the world of colour.

Each moment is a universe of possibility

Tied down to convention

So we wade through the motions.

There are no rules.

Yet we choose to share.


Opher 9.8.2016

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