A poem by Kilian McDonnell for a midsummer Monday.
I have had it with perfection. / I have packed my bags,
I am out of here. / Gone.
As certain as rain / will make you wet,
perfection will do you / in.
It droppeth not as dew / upon the summer grass
to give liberty and green / joy.
Perfection straineth out / the quality of mercy,
withers rapture at its / birth.
Before the battle is half begun,
cold probity thinks / it can’t be won, concedes the / war.
I’ve handed in my notice, given back my keys,
signed my severance check, I / quit.
Hints I could have taken:
Even the perfect chiseled form of / Michelangelo’s radiant David / squints,
the Venus de Milo / has no arms,
the Liberty Bell is / cracked.
We’ve all known grumpy perfectionists “who hold that anything less than total victory is failure, a premise that makes it easy to give up at the start or to disparage the victories that are possible. This is Earth. It will never be heaven….A better world, yes; a perfect world, never.” The same essay with those observations also quotes the late Uruguayan journalist Eduardo Galeano* who says “Utopia is on the horizon. When I walk two steps, it takes two steps back. I walk ten steps and it is ten steps further away. What is utopia for? It is for this, for walking.”
You have probably seen people for whom the vision is never right and never met. The plan is never followed and therefore is never fulfilled. The steps forward are never enough. They use perfection as “a stick with which to beat the possible.”
I’ve always been pragmatic, but I see streaks of perfectionism rise in myself every now and then. I think I’ll turn in my notice on perfectionism and instead enjoy the walking towards a better world.
Have a good week.
*It has nothing to do with this post, but the favorite quote I found from Eduardo Galeano is, “The Church says: The body is a sin. Science says: The body is a machine. Advertising says: The body is a business. The body says: I am a fiesta.“