Marie of Romania


“Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.”

~~Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)

Poetry is expression by beautiful language, isn’t it?

To be the master of its beauty and irony — oh, what a fine gift to be given.

Being inspired by poetry as a fiction writer is a blessing. It doesn’t happen often — turning prose into song — but when it does, when one sentence sings on my page, I’m a happy writer. For writing with the feel of a poet is not easy.   

Dorothy Parker, “the mistress of the verbal hand grenade,” had no problem with inspiration, of course. We see it all through her work.

The poet wrote the haiku above around the time Queen Marie of Romania was a famous figure in Europe.

And who was Marie?

Apart from being the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, she was queen consort to Ferdinand I, King of Romania.

File:King Ferdinand of Romania.jpg

King Ferdinand I

She was known as a strong woman, more than a principessa.  Ahead of her time. She took her position in the royal house seriously.

She went beyond her duties to build up the country as a European nation proud of its heritage and folklore. She made sure Romania did well at the Conference of Versailles (the meeting of the Allied victors following the end of WWI to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistices of 1918).

Considering she grew up and lived surrounded by a collection of the rarest jewels, Marie is famous for having said: “Fashion exists for women with no taste, etiquette for people with no breeding.”

Rumors of unhappiness and infidelity circulated for some time. If she was unhappy in her marriage, however, Marie took that secret to her grave.

How do Romanians view Queen Marie?

Having grown up in Romanian, I can say royals are, generally speaking, long forgotten. The country has been through a lot of turmoil since King Mihai (Michael, the last of the royals and Marie’s grandson) was chased out of the country by the Communist Party.

We moved from monarchy to  socialism and communism to democracy in a matter of a century.  

The royal family remains part of our history as a story from long ago. And if any royal has maintained a certain connection, however shaky, within the people — especially the older generation and historians — Marie is probably the one.

But what is Dorothy Parker telling us in her haiku?

“… And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.”

Perhaps life isn’t all that it appears to be, and love can go wrong for anyone.

In her witty tone, Parker seems to say … Yes, Life isn’t fair. So there … shove it down your pipe and smoke it.


Images courtesy: Wikimedia Commons, Public records.


10 responses to “Marie of Romania

  1. I always enjoy hearing how people from other countries view their royals and indeed how those royals view themselves within their countries of origin. Love how she ties into the subject of poetry. I have to admit I’m not a great lover basically because I don’t really understand it no matter how much I try to read it.
    And btw I love that saying ” put that in your pipe and smoke it” someone in my family used to say that…not sure who but that made me smile :)

  2. I loved this post, Sylvia, because it touched on poetry and also a woman I had never heard of – a fascinating one at that. Poetry is not a strong suit, but I enjoy reading it. Emily Dickinson is a favorite. Great post.

  3. Hi Sylvia great post thank you! I posted a response just now but don’t think it was received … But just to say thanks!

  4. What a fascinating woman! Thanks for sharing her with us.

  5. A Queen like Marie was the epitome of what a Queen should be.

    Oh, my, the video ;-)

I welcome your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s