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.
Never under-estimate self-interest:
a motivating drive that self-rewards.
Take note, observe the well-feathered nest,
lined full of comforts; as pleasure affords.
Don’t take for granted self-interest’s desire;
don’t be gullible or slow to your feet;
don’t be surprised by what Self will acquire;
don’t be the lender who has no receipt.
Take heed, be ready, keep track of the score.
Self seeks advantage, full measures the gain.
Take nothing for granted, rest not assure,
Self seeks indulgence; treats else with disdain.
. Indulgence of self at others’ expense.
. A cruel investment … a social offence.
© Tim Grace, 4 May 2013
To the reader: Possession brings them pleasure and reassurance. Put crudely, their conniving motivation is greed. They are the players who want more than is their fare share; cunning manipulators that contrive a self-serving solution. The psychology of greed would find its origins in an unresolved, deep-seated, sense of lacking… ‘poor me’ seeking restitution; ‘poor me’ retrieving what I’m owed.
To the poet: In the writing of a poem like this there has to be some emotional investment in its authorship. In its composition, it has to express annoyance and disappointment; some skin in the game. As I put pen to paper, I draw upon genuine feelings of frustration to validate my argument, to test its impact and authenticity. In its reading, I need to recognise those same unclaimed investments… the emotion must be raw and real.