Poetry Responses

One Perfect Rose
Dorothy Parker

A single flow'r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet--
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret;
"My fragile leaves," it said, "his heart enclose."
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah, no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.

Yet another poem that strikes with irony at the end. The list of poems is running thin of ones that I can work with well, and I don't know exactly how I'll do if the list doesn't change the next time. Regardless, this poem is incredibly simple, and incredibly straight to the point because it deals with emotions that many readers will readily relate to, those being the emotions of love, joy, disappointment, and jealousy. There is much more of the latter than the former in this work.

To begin with, the poem almost sounds like the stereotypical cutesy love poem that makes me as a reader want to puke. The narrator almost sounds like she is about to cry, seeing that she has gotten such a small yet sweet gift from a certain someone that obviously means something to her. However, almost is not completely. She uses multiple images of weakness in regards to the rose. It is solitary, by itself. She also describes it as tender. These can be looked at as something so sweet because someone is trying to be optimistic. I think that is what the speaker is trying to feel, but it is optimism in the sense that it really is out of place for her current state of condition. By just reading the end of the first stanza, one would still think that the author is absolutely grateful for getting the rose.

The second stanza tells a little more of the history between the speaker and her special someone. She says that she already knew what the rose was saying, and that it had taken a really long time for her to receive this gift. Once again, she uses imagery to make the rose look small and weak, calling it fragile, and even a floweret. However, this rose does have some value, as she calls it an amulet, but that doesn't mean that it is valuable to her. Yes, the rose is pretty, and in the hands of many girls they would woo and sigh and be quite satisfied. However, after looking at the first and second stanza, the one perfect rose doesn't seem to be nearly as special as it once did.

The third stanza sells the point of the poem completely, but also aggravates me just a little bit. Obviously, the speaker is erked by getting the rose. She might've expected something more. When she says "one perfect limousine", she hopefully doesn't mean that literally. But after knowing what feelings have been going on for so long, maybe she expected a bit more than one little rose that's still a little wet with a short and cliché' message attached to it. Maybe she was hoping for something more along the lines of an engagement ring, or at least something that shows more commitment, such as the limousine image implies. By the end, the perfect rose isn't perfect at all. Rather, it is a small token that doesn't live up to the authors expectations at all. In my opinion, the author is quite bitter.

However, the last stanza still disturbs me a little bit. I have seen many people get something nice but want something bigger and better, and thus don't realize how good they actually have it. I have been a victim of this on both ends, and this whole talk goes outside of the love department. I have seen many people squander away what they might need due to their unfulfillable wants. Could the speaker of this poem be in for the same fate. She seems a bit greedy in the poem, especially going so drastically as to ask for a limousine. If I was the one that gave her the rose, I would be quite hurt because I would've tried to show I cared, but the speaker didn't even take the gift for a grain of salt.

Maybe one of the principle points is that perfection is not everything. Sometimes, contrary to popular belief, it is not good to strive for such high standards. There are things in the real world that will hold down others, and sometimes it is not good to trample on other peoples feelings just to get better things. For all the reader knows, this girl might be tossing a perfect rose, and a perfect opportunity, out the window. On the contrary, another theme behind the poem might be that the ideas of perfection change from person to person. I know plenty of people who would love to get a rose, but I also know plenty of people who would tear it to shreds the moment they got it. It's just a simple fact of life that some people want materialistic things, while others want to fulfill their emotional needs. It is very hard to find that happy medium. Me? I always am in need of emotional support. I'd love a rose every now and then I guess, but for now, I am just left with commenting on a very cynical, amongst other things, poem about them.

Take one step back and read some good poetry.

If you have low expectations, go here and be happy.