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A Well Worn Story -- Dorothy Parker

(Poem #697) A Well Worn Story
 In April, in April,
 My one love came along,
 And I ran the slope of my high hill
 To follow a thread of song.

 His eyes were hard as porphyry
 With looking on cruel lands;
 His voice went slipping over me
 Like terrible silver hands.

 Together we trod the secret lane
 And walked the muttering town;
 I wore my heart like a wet, red stain
 On the breast of a velvet gown.

 In April, in April,
 My love went whistling by,
 And I stumbled here to my high hill
 Along the way of a lie.

 Now what should I do in this place
 But sit and count the chimes,
 And splash cold water on my face,
 And spoil a page with rhymes?
-- Dorothy Parker
Like Shakespeare, many of Parker's poems are variations on essentially the
same few themes; however (again like Shakespeare) they are themes that she
handles particularly well.

Two devices that stand out in today's piece are the colourfully exaggerated
imagery and the cynical bathos of the ending. And while the latter is rather
weak, the imagery is among the best I've seen from Parker, especially the
wonderfully synaesthetic 'his voice went slipping over me/ like terrible
silver hands'. The poem also has a pleasingly varying rhythm, almost musical
in places (particularly the third verse).

All in all, I'd say this was one of Parker's better poems - all the more
impressive a feat considering the relative weakness of the ending.


We've run several Parker poems (have I mentioned that I love her

Poem #150 Resume [including a biography]
Poem #192 Comment
Poem #486 Epitaph for a Darling Lady [another poem with superlative imagery]
Poem #560 Chant for Dark Hours
Poem #638 Song of Perfect Propriety


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