The Complete Poems of Dorothy Parker

By Dorothy Parker

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Dorothy Parker, master of the short story, dramatist, screenwriter, and sharp-tongued critic, was also an accomplished poet. At the center of the famed Round Table at New York's Algonquin Hotel, Parker distinguished herself among a circle of urbane literati with her excoriating quips and wonderfully realized epigrammatic poems. By the time her first collection of poems, En Dorothy Parker, master of the short story,...

Book details

April 1st 1999 by Penguin Classics

(first published 1944)

Edition Language
English

Quotes From "The Complete Poems of Dorothy Parker"

"In youth, it was a way I had,
To do my best to please.
And change, with every passing lad
To suit his theories.

But now I know the things I know
And do the things I do,
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you."
"Inventory:

"Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things I'd been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.
Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye."
"If wild my breast and sore my pride,
I bask in dreams of suicide,
If cool my heart and high my head
I think 'How lucky are the dead."
"A Very Short Song

Once, when I was young and true,
Someone left me sad-
Broke my brittle heart in two;
And that is very bad.

Love is for unlucky folk,
Love is but a curse.
Once there was a heart I broke;
And that, I think, is worse."
"Because your eyes are slant and slow,
Because your hair is sweet to touch,
My heart is high again; but oh,
I doubt if this will get me much."
"I know I have been happiest at your side;
But what is done, is done, and all’s to be.
And small the good, to linger dolefully-
Gayly it lived, and gallantly it died.
I will not make you songs of hearts denied,
And you, being man, would have no tears of me,
And should I offer you fidelity,
You’d be, I think, a little terrified.

Yet this the need of woman, this her curse:
To range her little gifts, and give, and give,
Because the throb of giving’s sweet to bear.
To you, who never begged me vows or verse,
My gift shall be my absence, while I live;
But after that, my dear, I cannot swear."
"MIDNIGHT

The stars are soft as flowers, and as near;
The hills are webs of shadow, slowly spun;
No separate leaf or single blade is here-
All blend to one.

No moonbeam cuts the air; a sapphire light
Rolls lazily, and slips again to rest.
There is no edgèd thing in all this night,
Save in my breast."
"INTERIOR

Her mind lives in a quiet room,
A narrow room, and tall,
With pretty lamps to quench the gloom
And mottoes on the wall.

There all the things are waxen neat
And set in decorous lines;
And there are posies, round and sweet,
And little, straightened vines.

Her mind lives tidily, apart
From cold and noise and pain,
And bolts the door against her heart,
Out wailing in the rain."

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