Poetry Wednesday: Parker on Poetry

Travel, trouble, music, art,
A kiss, a frock, a rhyme-
I never said they feed my heart,
But still they pass my time.

—Dorothy Parker, “Faute De Mieux”

I’m on my way to Muncie, Indiana, and what with one thing and another, I had not world enough or time to do an in-depth poetry post—I know I’ve been saying that a lot lately, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

So I’m throwing myself on the relative mercy of Dorothy Parker, who had, as you might expect, a couple of things to say about verses and the writing thereof:

dorothy_parker

A Pig’s-Eye View Of Literature
(Dorothy Parker)

The Lives and Times of John Keats,
Percy Bysshe Shelley, and
George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron

Byron and Shelley and Keats
Were a trio of Lyrical treats.
The forehead of Shelley was cluttered with curls,
And Keats never was a descendant of earls,
And Byron walked out with a number of girls,
But it didn’t impair the poetical feats
Of Byron and Shelley,
Of Byron and Shelley,
Of Byron and Shelley and Keats.

Parker

For A Lady Who Must Write Verse
(Dorothy Parker)

Unto seventy years and seven,
Hide your double birthright well-
You, that are the brat of Heaven
And the pampered heir to Hell.

Let your rhymes be tinsel treasures,
Strung and seen and thrown aside.
Drill your apt and docile measures
Sternly as you drill your pride.

Show your quick, alarming skill in
Tidy mockeries of art;
Never, never dip your quill in
Ink that rushes from your heart.

When your pain must come to paper,
See it dust, before the day;
Let your night-light curl and caper,
Let it lick the words away.

Never print, poor child, a lay on
Love and tears and anguishing,
Lest a cooled, benignant Phaon
Murmur, “Silly little thing!”

parker-writing

Fighting Words*
(Dorothy Parker)

Say my love is easy had,
Say I’m bitten raw with pride,
Say I am too often sad—
Still behold me at your side.

Say I’m neither brave nor young,
Say I woo and coddle care,
Say the devil touched my tongue—
Still you have my heart to wear.

But say my verses do not scan,
And I get me another man!

 

__________________________

*I know I’ve shared this one before, but it bears repeating, ’cause it’s true.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Poetry Wednesday: Parker on Poetry

Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s