Luck

by Kerry O’Sullivan (age 16, Santry, Dublin)

You have the right to practise your own culture, language and religion – or any you choose. Minority and indigenous groups need special protection of this right. Photograph: Getty Images

You have the right to practise your own culture, language and religion – or any you choose. Minority and indigenous groups need special protection of this right. Photograph: Getty Images

 

You are not lucky.

As if some cosmic force celebrates each of your golden breaths.

An entity

Marked by milestones,

Marked by your community.

You are not lucky.

Though you wear a cross proudly round your neck every day,

And see the scarved girl that’s your age,

Sneered at by strangers,

As if their contention

With her existence

Is their daily routine

As casual as drinking a cup of lukewarm tea.

You are not lucky.

Though your days have been perfumed

With privilege,

Felt only by those born into

The culture they’re living in.

And you anticipate allowances and freedom and welcome,

Still refuse to grant it to children of corruption

You are not lucky.

And you don’t cling to your culture like a safety blanket,

A haven when uprooted.

Thrown from everything you know and

Have nothing left,

But

The words on your lips,

The dance on your hips,

Music you remember reverberating in each ear,

Days and nights punctuated with prayer.

The certainty of what each season would bring.

Who you would see and how you would do anything

To be around the familiar,

The syllables that you’ve heard from before.

You could even speak yourself.

Perhaps bad luck makes us

The accidental perpetrators,

But bad luck does not make us sit back and take it,

Sit back and watch the faces on our tvs,

Faces in these magazines.

No, you are not lucky,

And you should not be taught so.

Rather, you have been born

Into a society

That protects you through

The systematic hatred of

The opposite of you.

You are not lucky.

You are not lucky

Because you are guilty.

Article 30

You have the right to practise your own culture, language and religion – or any you choose. Minority and indigenous groups need special protection of this right

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.