Secret of Success

You say you want to know (and others too)
The shining secret of my life’s success;
My ten-step, rags-to-riches recipe
And my ascendant path to happiness.
 
Do you mean the grail of heroes’ quest?
Is that the secret you were hoping for?
Tales of dreaming big and acting boldly;
Of stumbling upon fortune’s golden door?
 
Alas, the hidden truth (invisible
Behind the bright myth of a master plan)
Is that, no sooner is the mask removed,
Than cracks appear in the sun-bronzed tan.
 
My dark secret is that things fall apart
Almost nightly in the shadows of fame,
When the glaring spotlights of intrigue fade
And fragile self-esteem crumbles to shame.
 
My hushed secret is that the booming voice
Becomes a gnawing whisper of self-doubt
In the echoing caves of solitude;
An endless maze where only demons shout.
 
My small secret is that the starlit rise
Shines bright against a black, black empty sky;
And even as the peacock struts its plumes,
Its wings are clipped short and it cannot fly.
 
The secret of my success … is failure
(If you, and others too, still want to know);
It’s scrambling across the yawning chasm
Between where I am and where I must go.
 
It’s waking up hungry for self-respect
And going to bed thirsty for respite
From the chattering voices in my head
That tease with vivid dreams of flight.
 
It’s stretching and striving and surviving
The onslaught of seeing the potential
At the edges of my unsettled state
Of relentless angst that’s existential.
 
It’s throwing a rope across the river
Daily, between what is and what could be;
It’s showing the world, not the best I’ve got,
But the best bits I want them to see.
 
To succeed in life is to fail and fail
And still keep giving more than you can take.
My secret of success, since you did ask,
Is to know what’s real from all that is fake.
 

Wayne Visser © 2011

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