Dorothy Parker

For A Lady Who Must Write Verse

Dorothy Parker was an American poet, short story writer, critic and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th-century urban foibles.

Unto seventy years and seven,
  Hide your double birthright well-
You, that are the brat of Heaven
  And the pampered heir to Hell.

Let your rhymes be tinsel treasures,
  Strung and seen and thrown aside.
Drill your apt and docile measures
  Sternly as you drill your pride.

Show your quick, alarming skill in
  Tidy mockeries of art;
Never, never dip your quill in
  Ink that rushes from your heart.

When your pain must come to paper,
  See it dust, before the day;
Let your night-light curl and caper,
  Let it lick the words away.

Never print, poor child, a lay on
  Love and tears and anguishing,
Lest a cooled, benignant Phaon
  Murmur, "Silly little thing!"