Tyrian Purple

Falling short of the mark,
you tell me you’ve failed,
ambition revealed
as a hollowed-out shell
and vocation itself
as a meaningless whorl,
while the weight of the world
takes its place on your heart.

I see you turn inwards
to ward off the pain;
you wall up the shame,
but fear the dread rush
of that penitent thrush,
the tap, tap, tap, crack,
of its beak on your back,
all your failings exposed.

I tell you time’s palette
will colour your views,
that these purpuric hues
won’t always inflect.
I tell you read Dweck—
keep probing and learning
and stretching and yearning—
and the words sound so trite.

Yet countless past failures
show success can survive,
even thrive, in our lives
from error out-grown.
And the glories of Rome
were draped in a cloth,
twice dyed at great cost
in a sea-snail’s tears.