Tag Archives: chance

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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The flicker flame: a clogyrnach

Who can say what form the end takes?
The path each of us chooses makes
no two lives the same.
The snuff of one flame?
A wind came –
a mistake;

while yet another’s candle’s spark
may grow immense, and light the dark.
No one can say why
one lives and one dies.
We just try
to leave marks.

02 MAY 2011

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The Fickle Hand of Fate

How fickle fate doles out its random hand,
the faces of the cards down on the felt
unknown and spiteful of the best laid plans,
now little use once your lot has been dealt!

You work against the odds to make your play,
and with each round invest a greater sum;
with hope your only ally on the way,
an oracle who seems both deaf and dumb.

And then, by clever sleight or seeming chance,
a single card remains to seal your fate;
time slows each movement to a sluggish dance
as you see first a glimmer, then, too late,

a final pip is thrown to fill your hand,
destroying in an instant what wild dreams
of avarice you held. You understand
how fate works at that moment; and it seems

a bitter pill to swallow that such things
should be permitted by a loving God,
who gave the pendulum its cause to swing
and yet refused it any path but sod.

15 FEB 2006

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