Dorothy Parker is, of course, famous for witticisms, short, incisive, and very quotable. One of my favorites is, “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” But she was a fine poet as well, and along with her better-known light-hearted efforts were some very dark verses, so I’ve included two poems about love, one from each variety. I’ll let you decide which is the more serious.
Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Roumania
When my eyes are weeds,
And my lips are petals, spinning
Down the wind that has beginning
Where the crumpled beeches start
In a fringe of salty reeds;
When my arms are elder-bushes,
And the rangy lilac pushes
Upward, upward through my heart;
Summer, do your worst!
Light your tinsel moon, and call on
Your performing stars to fall on
Headlong through your paper sky;
Nevermore shall I be cursed
By a flushed and amorous slattern,
With her dusty laces’ pattern
Trailing, as she straggles by.