No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118

The Portable Dorothy Parker

Some of her short stories provide painfully clear insight into the human condition, but on the whole I don't think they've aged well. A few stand out, but many are tedious visits with antiquated people I don't like.
Strangely(?), I found more to like amongst her poetry.

I shall come back without fanfaronade
Of wailing wind and graveyard panoply;
But, trembling, slip from cool Eternity-
A mild and most bewildered little shade.
I shall not make sepulchral midnight raid,
But softly come where I had longed to be
In April twilight's unsung melody,
And I, not you, shall be the one afraid.

Strange, that from lovely dreamings of the dead
I shall come back to you, who hurt me most.
You may not feel my hand upon your head,
I'll be so new and inexpert a ghost.
Perhaps you will not know that I am near-
And that will break my ghostly heart, my dear.


If I don't drive around the park,
I'm pretty sure to make my mark.
If I'm in bed each night by ten,
I may get back my looks again,
If I abstain from fun and such,
I'll probably amount to much,
But I shall stay the way I am,
Because I do not give a damn.

Sweet Violets

You are brief and frail and blue-
Little sisters, I am, too.
You are Heaven's masterpieces-
Little loves, the likeness ceases.

The book also includes some of her drama and literary criticism, the latter columns appearing as "The Constant Reader" in the New Yorker. Much amusing prose, but many of the titles reviewed have faded into well-deserved obscurity, so I only perked up with titles I knew. Her description of Dash Hammett: "It is true he is so hard-boiled you could roll him on the White House lawn."
Inspired by hypochondriasis, she peers into Appendicitis, a popular work intended to 'bring an understanding of appendicitis to the laity.' As she peruses the illustrations, her favorite is "Vertical Section of the Peritoneum" -- "It has strength, simplicity, delicacy, pity, and irony. Perhaps, I grant you, my judgment is influenced by my sentiment for the subject. For who that has stood, bareheaded, and beheld the Peritoneum by moonlight can gaze unmoved upon its likeness?"
And of course, her reaction to Pooh's declaration that adding a few 'tiddely poms' help to make a song more 'hummy' in The House at Pooh Corner: "And it is that word 'hummy,' my darlings, that marks the first place in The House at Pooh Corner at which Tonstant Weader Fwowed Up."
And while I'm thinking of it...
Tags: book, wordplay

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