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PARKER, Dorothy


A Certain Lady


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.


But not forgotten

I think, no matter where you stray,

That I shall go with you a way.

Though you may wander sweeter lands,

You will not soon forget my hands,

Nor yet the way I held my head,

Nor all the tremulous things I said.

You still will see me, small and white

And smiling, in the secret night,

And feel my arms about you when

The day comes fluttering back again.

I think, no matter where you be,

You'll hold me in your memory

And keep my image, there without me,

By telling later loves about me.


One perfect rose

A single flow'r he sent me, since we met.

All tenderly his messenger he chose;

Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet -

One perfect rose.


I knew the language of the floweret;

'My fragile leaves,' it said, 'his heart enclose.'

Love long has taken for his amulet

One perfect rose.


Why is it no one ever sent me yet

One perfect limousine, do you suppose?

Ah no, it's always just my luck to get

One perfect rose.


A Dream Lies Dead


A dream lies dead here. May you softly go

Before this place, and turn away your eyes,

Nor seek to know the look of that which dies

Importuning Life for life. Walk not in woe,

But, for a little, let your step be slow.

And, of your mercy, be not sweetly wise

With words of hope and Spring and tenderer skies.

A dream lies dead; and this all mourners know:


Whenever one drifted petal leaves the tree-

Though white of bloom as it had been before

And proudly waitful of fecundity-

One little loveliness can be no more;

And so must Beauty bow her imperfect head

Because a dream has joined the wistful dead!