The imperative statement and cliche, “Make your own luck” is a modern variation of Emily Dickinson’s no-nonsense “Luck is not chance”. The meanings are the same, but the poem almost makes the universality of that common edict a contradiction of the poem.

Luck is not chance –
It’s Toil –
Fortune’s expensive smile
Is earned –
The Father of the Mine
Is that old fashioned Coin
We spurned

“Make your own luck” preaches creativity, resourcefulness, tranquility and optimism and may elicit the very stubbornness it is intended to sidestep . The poem simply puts luck in the category of what I may expect from toil, whether life turns out well or not. Far from being prized by everyone who experiences it, “Fortune’s expensive smile” is paid for in the toil it requires, as well as its aftermath.

The poem doesn’t linger, though, on the questionable parts of fortune.  If I regard hard work as though I were a rebellious adolescent who regards “The Father” of my path toward “Mine” success as “that old fashioned Coin”, it means I am among the universal “We (who) spurned” the fact of the necessity to earn it.

When looking at a far-off goal and what it will take to get there, some people I’ve met seem to “get it” instinctively. I’m not one of them.

I’ve learned, though, that I’m willing to put up with considerable strain and stress. Patience and reserve may be the outcome. Or part of my dna.

Talking about feelings, which is sometimes assisted with discussions of poems like this one, promotes my ability to apply dispassionate thinking to very emotional ambitions. 

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way

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