Sunday, July 1, 2012

On Vain and Shallow Women

There are dainty woman who exhibit strength of character and depth and there are others who, though ladylike, are weak, shallow, vain and often manipulative. Here are two poems about the latter.

Epitaph for a Darling Lady

All her hours were yellow sands,
Blown in foolish whorls and tassels;
Slipping warmly through her hands;
Patted into little castles.

Shiny day on shiny day
Tumbled in a rainbow clutter,
As she flipped them all away,
Sent them spinning down the gutter.

Leave for her a red young rose,
Go your way, and save your pity;
She is happy, for she knows
That her dust is very pretty.

--Dorothy Parker

Hard to Love

Her world is tightly laced,
her house, a flawless nest,
her god, packed neatly on display
among the dusted china cups.
Nothing jagged,
nothing marred,
no ambiguities distress
her tea time pleasantries.
She smiles at my reply,
holding back a spearmint yawn
with her tissued hand.
I sip the fragile porcelain edge
and ask for grace to love my perfect neighbor.

--Alice C. Linsley
(Originally appeared in The Living Church, 1995)


ed pacht said...

Oh, Parker had such an acid pen!

Hers is a perceptive little piece, but I find I do not like it at all. It leaves one with a bitter taste in the mouth, a very catty sneer at one who can no longer answer. Clever, but rather ugly.

Yours, Alice, on the other hand is the perfect answer to hers. You look at the same shallowness and phoniness and respond to it with a prayer - for love you cannot summon up yourself, but wish to have, and, by implication, for her in the terrible lack of her shallow 'perfection'. This, I believe, is the way Christ looks upon me.


Alice Linsley said...

Thanks for this, Ed. Your evaluation means so much.

I am almost finished with your delightful book and plan to write a review that will appear here before I have to return to teaching.