Uncertainty’s the muse of all that’s new,
And ignorance the space in which she plays;
A year’s enough to prove a vision true,
But we could prove it false in only days.
We dream, and chase our dream, and never fear
To fail, and fail. Up, up! And on again,
But ask us to pursue another’s goals
And failure makes us mice where we were men.
Ah, best laid plans! Where were you at the end
Who chained us and constrained us from the start?
We knew you made a fickle, fragile friend;
You tricked us when you claimed you had a heart!
We thought less travelled roads would see us winning
In places other fools had feared to stray –
If only we had known from the beginning
The ignorance we found along the way.
And yet, a list of dangers and disasters
Filled out, and scanned, and added to some more
Would still have left out some of what we mastered –
We didn’t know we didn’t know before.
We planned our way with maps we’d made already
Assuming the terrain would be the same,
Expecting well-paved roads to keep us steady
And any local creatures to be tame.
We loaded up our caravans and wagons
With good advice, best practices and tools
But didn’t spot the legend – “Here be dragons!”
So we got burnt, again. They say that fools
Rush in, and yet we count ourselves as wise,
We praise each other’s skill and raise a glass
To intellect – ignoring the demise
Of expeditions just as skilled as ours.
When they return, worn out, their pride in shreds,
We laugh and say, “A death march! You expect
Such things to fail.” And in our clever heads
It’s obvious – at least in retrospect.
The dragons of our ignorance will slay us
If we don’t slay them first. We could be brave
And work for kings who don’t refuse to pay us
When we’re delayed because we found their cave.
They say that matter cannot be created,
A fundamental principle and law,
While dragons keep emerging, unabated;
As many as you slay, there’s still one more.
Our ignorance is limitless – be grateful,
Or else we’d find we’ve nothing left to learn;
To be surprised by dragons may be fateful,
But truth be told, it’s best laid plans that burn.
We could seek out the dragons in their dungeons
And tread there softly, ready to retreat;
We could seek other roads, postponing large ones,
And only fight the ones we might defeat.
The world could be a world of dragon slayers
And stand as men and women, not as mice;
The joy that comes from learning more should sway us;
The fiercest dragons won’t surprise us twice.
Discover tiny dragons, be they few,
And all the mightiest, with equal praise –
Uncertainty’s our muse of all that’s new,
And ignorance the space in which she plays.