Failing Forward

The young talk in terms of ‘failing forward’.
They have swallowed an implausible pill.
‘Failure’s now an option’ – one they applaud:
‘Why fear failure? An innovator’s thrill!’
Let’s stop, let’s pause, let’s think on this a bit.
‘To err is human’ let us grant them that.
But ‘what’s broke is broke’ there’s no place for it.
For it has dependencies: tit-for-tat
consequences, poor measures of success.
Poor excuses; a paucity of thought.
Backroom mistakes, it’s those we can bless.
But failure in practice is no good sport.
. Discoveries by accident are rare,
. not to be mistaken for failure’s flare.

© Tim Grace, 3 October 2013


To the reader: Playfulness has been appropriated, reduced to a game; and in this gamified world ‘failing forward’ is encouraged as a tactful strategy. This notion of risk-free failure suits a programmed environment where the variables have been given bounds of tolerance. Within set-bounds, the game itself looks after potential disaster; that pretended consequence has been programmatically eliminated. To game is not to play…

To the poet: To learn from your mistakes was the maxim of my generation. Poetry is an open-ended puzzle, and as a playful pursuit it resists any ‘gamed solution’. A poet that plays ingenuous games with his reader will soon be discovered. There’s an expectation of meeting real-risk head-on; over-coming failure (outside the pretence of a game) with intrepid audacity.


Failing Forward

Failing Forward

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