Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Very Short Song - Dorothy Parker

Once, when I was young and true,
     Someone left me sad -
Broke my brittle heart in two;
     And that is very bad.

Love is for unlucky folk,
     Love is but a curse.
Once there was a heart I broke;
     And that, I think, is worse.

A very short song indeed.  Dorothy Parker today is best known for her wit and her blacklisting from Hollywood.  However, what we're here to talk about today is the very short song she penned, which is direct and poignant without being trite or sentimental.

Written as if talking to a child, the poem explains without condescending what heartbreak is.  Even though Parker calls love a curse on unlucky folk, I can't read too much bitterness into the line.  Sadness and regret are present, for sure, but they're presented in a friendly way.  The simple rhythm and rhyme scheme, besides tying in with the title, help soften the blow of breaking someone else's heart.

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