Inscription for the Ceiling of a Bedroom
By Dorothy Parker – 1893-1967
DAILY dawns another day;
I must up, to make my way.
Though I dress and drink and eat,
Move my fingers and my feet,
Learn a little, here and there,
Weep and laugh and sweat and swear,
Hear a song, or watch a stage,
Leave some words upon a page,
Claim a foe, or hail a friend––
Bed awaits me at the end.
Though I go in pride and strength,
I’ll come back to bed at length.
Though I walk in blinded woe,
Back to bed I’m bound to go.
High my heart, or bowed my head,
All my days but lead to bed.
Up, and out, and on; and then
Ever back to bed again,
Summer, Winter, Spring, and Fall––
I’m a fool to rise at all!
For twelve years now, I have left “some words upon a page” in the form of The Closet Professor. Nearly every day for the past twelve years I have published a post on this site. Mostly, they have been my ramblings about history, poetry, politics, and religion. Sometimes, I, “weep and laugh and sweat and swear,” but I have always tried to be as candid about my life and career as I could be. I’ve written about growing up gay, religious, and closeted in the South. I have written about my health, especially my journey with chronic migraines. Several years ago, I started to add a second post each day, my “Pic of the Day.” I come across so many great pictures on the internet, and some of them I think would make a great addition to a post. Others, I have no idea how I’d ever use it with a post, but I know I like the picture and want to be able to share it. So, it becomes my “Pic of the Day.”
The Closet Professor blog has been a fantastic journey that isn’t over yet. Occasionally, I “claim a foe” which what I write about, but more often than not, I “hail a friend.” I have met some wonderful friends along the way, some merely virtually and others in person. Some, old and new, are still friends, others I’ve lost touch with, and a few have passed away. My readers mean the world to me, and I love when one of you reaches out to me. I read each comment you make, and though I don’t always respond, I read them all. This blog has allowed me to “go in pride and strength” through this life, and I think it has made me a better person.
While each night “bed awaits me at the end,” it is usually just before I go to bed that I write my post for tomorrow. I wanted to celebrate my twelfth anniversary. Since I almost always post a poem on Tuesdays and my anniversary fell on a Tuesday this year, I looked for what I thought might be an appropriate poem. I love Dorothy Parker’s wit, and when I read this poem, I really didn’t think any other poem would be as perfect as this poem is for the anniversary of a blog.
Blogs didn’t exist in Parker’s lifetime, but I imagine if she’d lived during this time, she would have had a very popular blog with fantastic and scathing commentary on the world. I will never be the wordsmith that Dorothy Parker was, but I do hope you will continue to enjoy my ramblings for maybe another twelve years (or maybe longer). We shall see. When I started this blog, I never imagined that I’d still be writing it twelve years later.
Thanks for being on this journey with me.
About the Poet
On August 22, 1893, Dorothy Parker was born to J. Henry and Elizabeth Rothschild, at their summer home in West End, New Jersey. She grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. In 1914, Dorothy sold her first poem to Vanity Fair. At age twenty-two, she took an editorial job at Vogue. She continued to write poems for newspapers and magazines, and in 1917 she joined Vanity Fair, taking over for P.G. Wodehouse as drama critic.
In 1919, Parker became a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, an informal gathering of writers who lunched at the Algonquin Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. The “Vicious Circle” included Robert Benchley, Harpo Marx, George S. Kaufman, and Edna Ferber, and was known for its scathing wit and intellectual commentary. In 1922, Parker published her first short story, “Such a Pretty Little Picture,” for Smart Set. When the New Yorker debuted in 1925, Parker was listed on the editorial board. Over the years, she contributed poetry, fiction, and book reviews as the “Constant Reader.”
Parker’s first collection of poetry, Enough Rope (Boni & Liveright), was published in 1926 and was a bestseller. Her two subsequent collections were Sunset Gun (Boni & Liveright, 1928) and Death and Taxes (The Stratford Press, 1931). She published a work of collected fiction, Laments for the Living (The Viking Press), in 1930.
During the 1920s, Parker traveled to Europe several times. She befriended Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, socialites Gerald and Sara Murphy, and contributed articles to the New Yorker and Life. While her work was successful, and she was well-regarded for her wit and conversational abilities, she suffered from depression and alcoholism.
Parker was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1959 and was a visiting professor at California State College in Los Angeles in 1963. That same year, her husband, actor-writer Alan Campbell, died of an overdose. On June 6, 1967, Parker was found dead of a heart attack in a New York City hotel at age seventy-three. A firm believer in civil rights, she bequeathed her literary estate to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Upon his assassination the following year, the estate was turned over to the NAACP.