Tag Archives: Dorothy Parker

Marie of Romania

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“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.

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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.

April is National Poetry Month

April is Poetry Month, a national celebration.

Sure, we should celebrate poetry year-round, just as we celebrate our love of reading and writing.

But considering this will be the time when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture, and the  fact that I will be busy with the A to Z Challenge during April, I would like to take this last week of March and show my love for poetry.

Please feel free to join in. What are your favorite poems?

The celebration begins with Dorothy Parker’s “A Certain Lady.”

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Oh, I can smile for you, and tilt my head,
And drink your rushing words with eager lips,
And paint my mouth for you a fragrant red,
And trace your brows with tutored finger-tips.
When you rehearse your list of loves to me,
Oh, I can laugh and marvel, rapturous-eyed.
And you laugh back, nor can you ever see
The thousand little deaths my heart has died.
And you believe, so well I know my part,
That I am gay as morning, light as snow,
And all the straining things within my heart
You’ll never know.
Oh, I can laugh and listen, when we meet,
And you bring tales of fresh adventurings, —
Of ladies delicately indiscreet,
Of lingering hands, and gently whispered things.
And you are pleased with me, and strive anew
To sing me sagas of your late delights.
Thus do you want me — marveling, gay, and true,
Nor do you see my staring eyes of nights.
And when, in search of novelty, you stray,
Oh, I can kiss you blithely as you go ….
And what goes on, my love, while you’re away,
You’ll never know.