Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Dorothy Parker

Fair Weather

This level reach of blue is not my sea;
Here are sweet waters, pretty in the sun,
Whose quiet ripples meet obediently
A marked and measured line, one after one.
This is no sea of mine. that humbly laves
Untroubled sands, spread glittering and warm.
I have a need of wilder, crueler waves;
They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

So let a love beat over me again,
Loosing its million desperate breakers wide;
Sudden and terrible to rise and wane;
Roaring the heavens apart; a reckless tide
That casts upon the heart, as it recedes,
Splinters and spars and dripping, salty weeds.”
- Dorothy Parker

My sister has that line tattooed on her arm, "They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm." I've always loved it and had never read the poem which was it's source. Parker was renowned for her wit, her sharp tongue, her great mind... but I think in popular culture her sheer talent for words gets forgotten as her legacy is reduced to snippets of humor that are easily dispersed in conversation. The woman who wrote these verses was not simply a humorist or satirist, great though her contributions in that arena may have been.


  1. She was brilliant and amazing. I love, love, love her. I also own all of her poetry and some books of her play reviews and her biography.

    I actually don't suggest reading the biography, though, because it is quite sad.

  2. That's always been my impression. Sometimes I prefer to know less about an artist because my enjoyment of their work is colored by a greater understanding of the pain, discomfort or other unpleasant circumstances that helped make i possible.

    I should have known that you would be in posession of so much of her work!