Monday, December 21, 2015

"Song of Perfect Propriety" by Dorothy Parker


Oh, I should like to ride the seas,
    A roaring buccaneer;
A cutlass banging at my knees,
    A dirk behind my ear.
And when my captives’ chains would clank
    I’d howl with glee and drink,
And then fling out the quivering plank
    And watch the beggars sink.

I’d like to straddle gory decks,
    And dig in laden sands,
And know the feel of throbbing necks
    Between my knotted hands.
Oh, I should like to strut and curse
    Among my blackguard crew. . . .
But I am writing little verse,
    As little ladies do.

Oh, I should like to dance and laugh
    And pose and preen and sway,
And rip the hearts of men in half,
    And toss the bits away.
I’d like to view the reeling years
    Through unastonished eyes,
And dip my finger-tips in tears,
    And give my smiles for sighs.

I’d stroll beyond the ancient bounds,
    And tap at fastened gates,
And hear the prettiest of sounds—
    The clink of shattered fates.
My slaves I’d like to bind with thongs
    That cut and burn and chill. . . .
But I am writing little songs,
    As little ladies will.

Source of the text – Dorothy Parker, The Collected Poems of Dorothy Parker.  New York: The Modern Library, 1959, p. 56-57.

TJB: Arr, the same joke twice. The poet politely & with musical, stately-homely rhythm, glorifies the lives of pirates, then other, crueler folk.

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