Be Someone

By Rita Ann Higgins b. 1955
For Christ’s sake,
learn to type
and have something
to fall back on.
 
Be someone,
make something of yourself,
look at Gertrudo Ganley.
 
Always draw the curtains
when the lights are on.
 
Have nothing to do
with the Shantalla gang,
get yourself a right man
with a Humber Sceptre.
 
For Christ’s sake
wash your neck
before going into God’s house.
 
Learn to speak properly,
always pronounce your ings.
Never smoke on the street,
don’t be caught dead
in them shameful tight slacks,
 
spare the butter,
economise,
 
and for Christ’s sake
at all times,
watch your language.

Rita Ann Higgins, “Be Someone” from Witch in the Bushes. Copyright © 1988 by Rita Ann Higgins. Reprinted by permission of Rita Ann Higgins.

Source: Witch in the Bushes (Salmon Poetry, )

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Poet Rita Ann Higgins b. 1955

POET’S REGION Ireland

Subjects Living, Life Choices, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries

Biography

Born in Galway, Irish poet and playwright Rita Ann Higgins was one of thirteen children in her family, and left school at the age of fourteen. She began to write poetry in her twenties after being hospitalized with tuberculosis.
 
Higgins’s frank, wry poems often look squarely at economic and gender-based inequalities. Calling hers a “smart, sassy, unabashed, female working class voice in Irish writing” in a 2011 Irish Times . . .

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Poems by Rita Ann Higgins

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION Ireland

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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