Were you to cross the world, my dear,
To work or love or fight,
I could be calm and wistful here,
And close my eyes at night.

It were a sweet and gallant pain
To be a sea apart;
But, oh, to have you down the lane
Is bitter to my heart.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Dorothy Parker's poem Distance


  1. Norma Jeane says:

    I thought it was more about a doomed relationship..

    If the love is doomed because you are a sea apart, it’s dramatic in a romantic way, and you still have the illusion that it’s totally meant to be.

    If it’s simply not working out (because he rejected you) it’s harder to accept the failure. And of course, to have him down the lane makes it harder to forget. I hate the thought of my ex-boyfriend still living in this city, the possibility of running into him. GRR! It’s bitter to my heart!

  2. Marisa says:

    i think that this poem is very true for anyone who has a long distance relationship. if you have that person near you all the time, it is better to love that person when you know they are safe across the sea.

  3. Nancy Ransom says:

    It is so true that love is sweeter in the longing than it is in the having. With distance one can imagine its perfection. The mind dreams of total fulfillment of immediate desires, the right gestures given at the right times. Were that this was reality when the object of one’s love lives just down the street yet knocks at the door to offer the wrong gesture at the wrong time.

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