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Chant for Dark Hours -- Dorothy Parker

       
(Poem #560) Chant for Dark Hours
 Some men, some men
 Cannot pass a
 Book shop.
 (Lady, make your mind up, and wait your life away.)

 Some men, some men
 Cannot pass a
 Crap game.
 (He said he'd come at moonrise, and here's another day!)

 Some men, some men
 Cannot pass a
 Bar-room.
 (Wait about, and hang about, and that's the way it goes.)

 Some men, some men
 Cannot pass a
 Woman.
 (Heaven never send me another one of those!)

 Some men, some men
 Cannot pass a
 Golf course.
 (Read a book, and sew a seam, and slumber if you can.)

 Some men, some men
 Cannot pass a
 Haberdasher's.
 (All your life you wait around for some damn man!)
-- Dorothy Parker
While Parker can always be counted on to combine delightfully witty content
with a just-so metre, it is is usually the message of the poem that stands
out. Today's poem, the very aptly named 'Chant For Dark Hours', is an
exception - indeed, given how cutting she's capable of being, the words seem
deliberately toned down to balance the hypnotic rhythm.

The metre is very well constructed - the first three lines of each verse
deliberately dragged out with a preponderance of accented syllables, to
give a dull, heavy, effect, and then the fourth line shifting to a more
tripping rhythm, speeding the reader to the verse's conclusion. Note, too,
the way the poem ends with three consecutive stresses - as nice a way of
driving home the point as any I've seen.

Theme:

This week's theme is 'the pleasures of strong rhythm' - see
poem #558 for a fuller explanation.

Links:

We've run several Dorothy Parker poems - see the index

- [broken link] http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/index_poet.html

A biography is at poem #150

PostScript:

As much as the metre, it was the opening lines that first attracted me to
this poem (for tolerably obvious reasons :))

-martin

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