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Song of Perfect Propriety by Dorothy Parker


Oh, I should like to ride the seas,
  A roaring buccaneer;
A cutlass banging at my knees,
  A dirk behind my ear.
And when my captives’ chains would clank
;;I’d howl with glee and drink,
And then fling out the quivering plank
  And watch the beggars sink.

I’d like to straddle gory decks,
;;And dig in laden sands,
And know the feel of throbbing necks
;;Between my knotted hands.
Oh, I should like to strut and curse
;;Among my blackguard crew…
But I am writing little verse,
;;As little ladies do.

Oh, I should like to dance and laugh
;;And pose and preen and sway,
And rip the hearts of men in half,
;;And toss the bits away.
I’d like to view the reeling years
  Through unastonished eyes,
And dip my finger-tips in tears,
  And give my smiles for sighs.

I’d stroll beyond the ancient bounds,
;;And tap at fastened gates,
And hear the prettiest of sound-
;;The clink of shattered fates.
My slaves I’d like to bind with thongs
  That cut and burn and chill…
But I am writing little songs,
  As little ladies will.