Dorothy Parker on Love

Dorothy Parker (1893 –1967), famous for her wit and her sharp commentary on contemporary America, published some 300 poems and free verses in various magazines. Her poetry is marked by cleverness but also by the deep depression that plagued her.
Here are two short poems in which she reflects on love and relationships.

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.

In these six lines, Dot Parker describes the absurdity and contradictions of romantic love and tears all kinds of veils with which romanticism covers the harsh reality.
The first four lines contain the declarations of eternal love from a man and a woman. But the conclusion suggests that one of them is lying about their feelings. It is not clarified who is lying and readers can interpret it as they wish.
The poet is saying that love is weak, unreal, does not last and grows old losing its initial shine. Beneath the promises of eternal love lurk suffering and disappointment

Another cynical description of modern romance is also present in the following poem, which is even shorter:

Two-Volume Novel

The sun’s gone dim, and
The moon’s turned black;
For I loved him, and
He didn’t love back.

English writer W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) once said that in a relationship “there’s always one who loves and one who lets himself be loved.”

Dorothy Parker (1893 – 1967), famosa per il suo spirito e la sua critica all’America contemporanea, pubblicò circa 300 poesie e versi liberi in varie riviste. La sua poesia è segnata dall’arguzia ma anche dalla profonda depressione da cui era afflitta.
Ecco due brevi poesie in cui riflette su amore e relazioni:

Sfortunata coincidenza

Quando tu giuri di essere sua,
tremando e struggendoti
e lui giura che la sua passione è
inesauribile, eterna –
donna, ricordati di questo:
uno di voi due sta mentendo.

In questi sei versi Dot Parker descrive l’assurdità e le contraddizioni dell’amore romantico e strappa ogni tipo di velo con cui il romanticismo copre la dura realtà.

I primi quattro versi contengono le dichiarazioni d’amore eterno di un uomo e di una donna. Ma la conclusione insinua che uno di loro sta mentendo sui propri sentimenti. Non viene indicato chi è a mentire e ogni lettore può interpretarlo a piacere.
Con questo la poetessa sta affermando che l’amore è debole, irreale, non dura e invecchia perdendo il suo splendore iniziale. Sotto le promesse di amore duraturo si nascondono dolore e delusioni.

Un’altra cinica descrizione delle relazioni romantiche è presente anche nella seguente poesia, ancor più breve:

Romanzo in due volumi

Il sole è diventato fioco e
e la luna si è fatta nera;
perché io l’amavo, e
lui non mi ricambiava.

Lo scrittore inglese W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) una volta disse che in una relazione “c’è sempre uno che ama e uno che si lascia amare”.

Image flickr – Gandalf’s Gallery: René Magritte – The Lovers [1928]

47 thoughts on “Dorothy Parker on Love

      1. Don’t you watch the news? The story of Nazanidine, who was arrested in Iran in 2016 while visiting her parents in Teheran, and put in prison for four years, and then for more than one year, just after she had a baby. The story is too complex to tell you here but her husband, Richard, an Englishman, campaigned devotedly, even going on hunger strike outside the Foreign Office door, to get her released.
        After six years of hell, yesterday she was back to freedom in the United Kingdom.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re right; a bad story that ended well 🌿Here the Italian media give prominence only to war, pandemic, uncontrolled price increases and problems in our parliament


    1. Like you Joanna, I’m so so pleased that this episode has come to an end and the family can be together again. Her husband showed what true Englishmen are really like. Well done to him and those who helped to make it happen

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This poems are actually quite brilliant, love does exist but in most case scenario’s with all the cheatings involve one of them is definitely lying and yes people we love don’t necessarily love us back, great post as always dear. ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  2. “Lady, make a note of this:
    One of you is lying.”

    Maybe both are lying? LOL
    And the lady knows this very well because she is not stupid. Such is the convention of lovers that they exchange compliments (not insults – although these might follow later).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You are right, loving effusions, even if sincere for a moment, are often hypocritical attitudes because what one loves, at times, is not the other but the idea of love.
      Dot Parker wrote in another poem:
      “Scratch a lover, and find a foe.”
      Thanks for your lovely comment 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      1. How interesting, Luisa. This quote by Dot Parker is so true: “Scratch a lover, and find a foe.”

        By the way, it reminds me of a bonmot of the Russian President Vladimir Putin: “Scratch a Russian, and find a Tatar.”

        Not that he dislikes Tatars, not at all. Actually, his second wife Alina Kabaeva is of Tatar descent. She is a former gold medalist at the Olympics in rhythmic gymnastics, a very beautiful woman. The man has good taste …

        Liked by 2 people

  3. hai ragione. Dorothy esprime il suo scetticismo sul concetto di amore. Nella prima afferma che uno dei due mente, di solito l’uomo. Nella seconda esprime il suo pensiero: l’amore a senso unico da parte della donna.

    Liked by 2 people

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