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Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

A Certain Lady


              1Oh, I can smile for you, and tilt my head,
              2    And drink your rushing words with eager lips,
              3And paint my mouth for you a fragrant red,
              4    And trace your brows with tutored finger-tips.
              5When you rehearse your list of loves to me,
              6    Oh, I can laugh and marvel, rapturous-eyed.
              7And you laugh back, nor can you ever see
              8    The thousand little deaths my heart has died.
              9And you believe, so well I know my part,
            10    That I am gay as morning, light as snow,
            11And all the straining things within my heart
            12    You'll never know.

            13Oh, I can laugh and listen, when we meet,
            14    And you bring tales of fresh adventurings, --
            15Of ladies delicately indiscreet,
            16    Of lingering hands, and gently whispered things.
            17And you are pleased with me, and strive anew
            18    To sing me sagas of your late delights.
            19Thus do you want me -- marveling, gay, and true,
            20    Nor do you see my staring eyes of nights.
            21And when, in search of novelty, you stray,
            22    Oh, I can kiss you blithely as you go ....
            23And what goes on, my love, while you're away,
            24    You'll never know.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Enough Rope: Poems by Dorothy Parker (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1926): 90. PS 3531 A5855E5 Robarts Library
First publication date: 7 August 1924
Publication date note: Life (Aug. 7, 1924): 3.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1999.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/6

Rhyme: ababcdcdefef


Other poems by Dorothy Parker