Fair Weather

This level reach of blue is not my sea;
Here are sweet waters, pretty in the sun,
Whose quiet ripples meet obediently
A marked and measured line, one after one.
This is no sea of mine. that humbly laves
Untroubled sands, spread glittering and warm.
I have a need of wilder, crueler waves;
They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

So let a love beat over me again,
Loosing its million desperate breakers wide;
Sudden and terrible to rise and wane;
Roaring the heavens apart; a reckless tide
That casts upon the heart, as it recedes,
Splinters and spars and dripping, salty weeds.

by Dorothy Parker

Comments (3)

Substituting periods for spaces (given the limitations of this site) we get: In the pathway of the sun, ...In the footsteps of the breeze, Where the world and sky are one, ...He shall ride the silver seas, ......He shall cut the glittering wave. I shall sit at home and rock; Rise, to heed a neighbor's knock; Brew my tea, and snip my thread; Bleach the linen for my bed. .........They will call him brave.
You need to get the indentations in place. The first four lines are set up so that they move forward from the left margin: In the pathway of the sun, In the footsteps of the breeze, Where the world and sky are one, He shall ride the silver seas, He shall cut the glittering wave. I shall sit at home and rock; Rise, to heed a neighbor's knock; Brew my tea, and snip my thread; Bleach the linen for my bed. They will call him brave. typesetting from Penguin's The Portable Dorothy Parker
I'm shocked that this rates only a 6. It's an unusual poem for Parker, but that's what makes it so outstanding. The use of the couplet which undermines the quatrains is absolutely classic as far as the sonnet form goes. The scansion is smooth in the first two quatrains and rough in the third, and instead of being one of Parker's attempts to be cynical or to use self-consciously false bravado, this poem comes across as honest, beautiful, and tragic. I think it's one of Parker's best.