The Real Question

Success is a bonus only,
Fame a mouthpiece of portent.
Fortune is a pair of loaded dice.
Do you like what you're doing?
That is the question.

Failure is a dip into your savings,
Hardship a toothache you try to forget.
While Fate carves the pie unevenly, Death eats all.
Do you like what you're doing?
That is the question.

We are often misled
By the old lie of Success or Failure.
Television and the magazines tell us:
      Be a star!
      Get rich!
      Live fast!
      Look good!
      Kick ass! Be the best!
      Win! Win! Win!
It's an ancient ideal, a Roman legacy,
But at best a half-truth, at worst…
A cancerous lie.
Just ask Josef Stalin or Howard Hughes
(If you dare call them up from their dark pages in history)
Did they really like what they were doing?

Time is relentless
Both in building monuments
And smashing them to rubble.
Joy falls to the builders, yes,
But also the lovers and the watchers,
And, at times, the wreckers.
Power, fame, wealth:
These are idols of the ignorant.
In the temple of man,
They are the graven images that lead men astray.
They promise the world, yet the man that attains them
Too often learns the oppressive weight of the world.
The music of Success is often a din that obscures
The true melodies of the heart.
And the roar of crowds too often masks the small quiet voice
That calls from the wilderness,
Without threat or pretense:

      Do you like what you're doing, child?
      That is the question.

George Chadderdon © 2001