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Caught in the Undertow -- Christopher Morley

Another of my Poets' Corner discoveries...
(Poem #553) Caught in the Undertow
 Colin, worshipping some frail,
 By self-deception sways her:
 Calls himself unworthy male,
 Hardly even fit to praise her.

 But this tactic insincere
 In the upshot greatly grieves him
 When he finds the lovely dear
 Quite implicitly believes him.
-- Christopher Morley
A very Dorothy Parkerish sort of poem - a sarcastic look at courtship
rituals, ending with a very satisfying punchline. I did intend to run a more
'typical' piece as the first Morley, but his favourite theme seems to be
'poetry is but a poor imitation of Life', not something I have a lot of
sympathy for :)

He does have a lot of good poems, though, and I'll certainly be covering a
few more - in the meantime, do check out the wonderfully illustrated copy of
his book 'Chimneysmoke' up at the Poets' Corner.


 Morley, Christopher
 b. May 5, 1890, Haverford, Pa., U.S.
 d. March 28, 1957, Roslyn Heights, Long Island, N.Y.
 in full CHRISTOPHER DARLINGTON MORLEY, American writer whose versatile
 works are lighthearted, vigorous displays of the English language.

 Morley's father was a mathematician and his mother a musician and poet. The
 young Morley studied at Haverford College (B.A., 1910) and was a Rhodes
 scholar at New College, Oxford (1910-13). Over the years he found success
 in several fields. He gained popularity with his literary columns in the
 New York Evening Post (1920-24) and the Saturday Review of Literature
 (1924-41) and from collections of essays and columns such as Shandygaff
 (1918). His novels include the innovative The Trojan Horse (1937), a
 combination of prose, verse, and dramatic dialogue that satirized human
 devotion to luxury, and the sentimental best-seller Kitty Foyle (1939),
 about an office girl and a socialite youth. The Old Mandarin (1947) is a
 collection of witty free verse. Morley also edited Bartlett's Familiar
 Quotations (1937, 1948).

        -- EB


The aforementioned Chimneysmoke:
  - [broken link]

And here's one of Parker's poems, by way of comparison:

  'Unfortunate Coincidence'

  By the time you swear you're his,
  Shivering and sighing,
  And he vows his passion is
  Infinite, undying -
  Lady, make a note of this:
  One of you is lying.

    -- [broken link]


30 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Sunil Iyengar said...

Furthermore, in 1934 Morley founded the Baker Street Irregulars, a society
devoted to treating Sherlock Holmes as a non-fictional character.

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