Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"The Queen of Romania!" or "That's Life!"

"Oh, Life is a Glorious Cycle of Song,
A Medley of Extemporanea;
And Love is a Thing That Can Never Go Wrong,
And I am the Queen of Romania!"
-Dorothy Parker

This is an great poem! The sarcasm is pure Dorothy Parker. I need to require all of my kids to commit this to memory! I know I get a little obsessed with poems but this is a classic and it's easy to learn and recite!

Even though the poem is intentionally caustic and a little bitter; it has an important message. No one has a life that is an ongoing glorious cycle of joy and everyone has troubles with love (whether it be plutonic, romantic, familial, etc). Opening your heart to love others is instant vulnerability! Somewhere along the line, love of one sort or another is going to come back and bite you/hurt you! Guess this explains Pagie's Tshirt that reads: "Love is a Battlefield!"

In a few clever lines Parker confirms that no one goes through life unscathed! Rabbi Harold Kushner has written several books on this theme. In Overcoming Life's Disappointments, Rabbi Kushner comments that "It may be that instead of giving us a friendly world that would never challenge us and therefore never make us strong, God gave us a world that would inevitably break our hearts, and compensated for that by planting in our souls the gift of resilience." I like that explanation!

Here is Woody Allen's description of what it means to love: "To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore to love it to suffer, not to love is to suffer. To suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy then is to suffer. But suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness. I hope you're getting this down."

See how confusing this all becomes! You can see why Dorothy Parker had to lament about life and love!