for my mother, Gertrud (1921 – 1983)
It wasn’t dumb luck the way my mother would spot a four-leaf clover within seconds
of scanning the lawn, all green to me, all clovers trefoils to me. She didn’t even have
to try, without a word or prayer to any deity would bend and pluck bend and pluck
and come up with her prize. It was not dumb luck, though she knew its meaning, having
survived the war, house brother husband gone in a wink and she just twenty-five.
Was it was luck saved her as she bicycled to work at a raincoat factory, when danger
could ambush any minute, and nothing for it, not kismet, not fate, just dumb luck.
Maybe, I later thought, after her early death from depression, it could have been coded
into DNA, some clover magic of female peasant ancestors from Saxony, or maybe because war
sharpens survival sense which we translate as Luck, as opposed to its shadow Unluck, from
which not a single four-leafer could save her.