Failure Poems

I know, I know: what can you learn from some poems about “failure”?

Well, isn’t it a “truism” that we learn more from failure than from success?

With that in mind, give these old lost poems a few minutes’ chance, and see what you can learn from them. My guess is you’ll be glad you did.


Twixt failure and success the point’s so fine
Men sometimes know not when they touch the line,
Just when the pearl was waiting one more plunge,
How many a struggler has thrown in the sponge!
Then take this honey from the bitterest cup:
“There is no failure save in giving up!”

unknown author, first seen in The Vestnik Herald (Temple, Texas), Sept 1st, 1965


They said he was a failure since
He won no eminence or fame,
And none but his friends were stirred
At any mention of his name.

Ah, foolish ones, they could not gauge
The measurement of his success—
He left his friends glad memories,
And gave one woman happiness.

Charlotte Becker, 1936


I have hoped, I have planned, I have striven,
To the will, I have added the deed;
The best that was in me I’ve given,
I have prayed, but the gods would not heed.

I have dared and reached only disaster,
I have battled and broken my lance;
I am bruised by a pitiless master
That the weak and the timid call chance.

I am old, I am bent, I am cheated
Of all that Youth urged me to win;
But name me not with the defeated,
Tomorrow again, I begin.

Samuel E. Kiser

Many a time I have been stricken to the earth,
But the earth is full of strength which I take to my heart;
I have been defeated again and again,
But there is something within me which is never defeated,
For I am full of new beginnings.

Don Marquis


It’s easy to sit in the sunshine
And talk to the man in the shade,

It’s easy to sit in a well-made boat
And tell others where to wade.

It’s easy to tell the toiler
How best to carry his pack.

But you’ll never know the weight of the load
Till the pack is on your back!


So there you have it. What did you think of these? I know it takes some time to really read & think of what the writers are saying. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when these special words move my heart, I feel a profound sense of how life is worth living. They give me a renewed sense of vigor & desire to live up to my potential.

And the 2nd and 3rd ones make me cry!

I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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