Luck and Chance: epistle

“Dear John,” the letter read, “I seek advice.
You seem to know some things, and seem quite nice.
I wonder what you think of luck and chance.
Do you believe we twirl in a mad dance
of accidental happenings and such,
or does belief in fate stretch it too much?”

“Sincerely, someone who would like to know.”
I thought a moment, tossing to and fro
a myriad of possible replies.
Just how to cut an answer down to size?
“Dear someone,” I began, “to tell the truth,
no matter which I choose, there is no proof.

Some folk would say you cannot beat dumb luck;
that skill and expertise are often stuck
and mired by subtle cages of the known –
restraints on movement within certain zones
that dilettantes so blithely disregard,
complaining learning them is just too hard.

It’s true enough that luck trumps skill at times;
one could lay odds and win most of your bets.
Still, in the larger scheme of things, one finds
relying on mere chance cause for regret.
What works due to coincidence a while
lacks substance and fades quickly out of style.

So count yourself as lucky, if you wish,
but while good fortune holds, learn something new.
Far better, in the end, to learn to fish
than to expect the fish to come to you.
Sincerely, just another wondering soul
whose portion often overflows his bowl.”

16 MAR 2017

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