"Would it have been worth while, To have bitten off the matter with a smile, To have squeezed the universe into a ball..."
- The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot, Lines 90-92 For a full copy of the poem, click here. For Anthony Hopkins' reading of the poem, click here.
Love the poet. Love the poem. It’s been so so long since I read it. Thank you, San, for reminding me. It was a good thing for me to read today. Sharp as a scapel and inevitable and lovely. This image stuck with me when I was younger: “I should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.” I carried it with me for years and almost forgot where I found it. Other images appeal to me now – there are so many powerful ones in this poem. I can read it over and over. You are the second person this week to remind me to make time in my life for poetry again. And what an excellent place to start. Toodles, Tori
hello, hello, Tori…ahaha, Eliot’s poems really stick in one’s memory – they’re full of imagery and too vivid… a pair of ragged claws – why, you were conflicted, my dear. 😉 you must really be artistic, i guess… what particularly got my attention then was the parting of the hair behind, learned that it became fashionable in their time, hehe. btw, the poet was only 22 when he wrote this – he sounded like a cynical, old man already, don’t you think? 😉 yes, do go back to poetry, sister. it’ll take you places. 🙂 but you know that, you, who has a knack for words, ahaha. 🙂
have a good weekend ahead, Tori. warm regards… ~ San
Beautiful poem! I’m discovering it.Thank you.
hello, cirerose… thanks for appreciating it. glad you visited. warm regards. 🙂
Really nice poem. Thank you.
hello, Reyn… pasensya na, this went past my notice. 🙂 thank you also, for coming by again. lovely imagery in the poem, ‘no? 🙂 kind regards…
wow! what a genius to summarize “And in short, I was afraid.” then to continue with his waves of words and sentences… ending with “That is not what I meant at all; That is not it, at all.” “It is impossible to say just what I mean!”
is this the reason for him finishing _mythologically_ …
“I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.”
hello, J.A… so good to see you and to hear from you. 🙂 yes, the poet is a genius – to capture so much scenes of city-life (booming London) when he was but 22 years of age. i guess he was vocalizing man’s fear, his cynicism, his fear of death. he wanted to be honest about life and the decisions he wanted to make. but according to him, he’s no Hamlet, had no means or time to hesitate. he’s no Lazarus either, although he wanted to be able to tell all…
according to him, he’s going to grow old. his politics is meticulous and he is cautious and thus, incapable of decisions required by the circumstances. although he wanted to make gut-level or instinctive moves (like marrying), the only thing he’s really able to do is to observe braceleted arms and dream of sea-girls with seeweeds till he drowns. he succumbed to the social expectations and ended up not pursuing what his instincts bid him to do. there, as far as I know, hehe…. how are you? 🙂 😉
hi San, well, yes I’m fine. 🙂 what about you?
last but not least: you’ve got great abilities in interpreting art – like in this case!! :))
hello, J.A…. ay, that’s good to hear. i do get by, problems and all, ahaha. thanks. 🙂
thanks, but nah… in this case, i did a paper about the poem back in college, hehe. i guess i still remember bits and pieces … 😉
btw, it is in your posts that i find it engaging to interpret lit and art. very interesting, sometimes absurd (sometimes) yet quite interesting things you write there, my friend – makes me think, exercise my sleepy brain cells. 🙂
many thanks for the appreciation. cheers!
wow, kind thanks, ms. lady fi… 🙂
Hi ‘San! I’m not much of a poem person because I lack the patience to truly appreciate its beauty, but I admire those who do. But because you’re such a lovely person, I went ahead to read The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
The first lines were really good and I started imagining gorgeous landscape:
“Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky”
Then the third line sort of destroyed all my beautiful images 😀
“Like a patient etherized upon a table”
I have spent so many days working in operating rooms in the past and trust me, there’s nothing romantic about a patient etherized upon a table 😉
hello, Nadia… hahaha, poems, they say, are for people who love words – the sound, the feel, the nuances, the intricacies and the images they conjure. there were years when i so loved poetry and then there were years when i evaded them like the plague, haha. it is only when i got into blogging that yours truly has been able to renew the interest in this form of literary art. so, there… 🙂
T.S. Eliot is a cynic, through and through – a romanticist who wants to discard his romanticism through hard realism. thus, one can see his dilemma in his poetry. btw, he wrote this piece when he was but 22 and a newbie in the city of London. later, he would belong to the circle of Ezra Pound, a group of writers known for imagery, yes… Eliot worked as a bank clerk by day and a poet by night, ahaha.
hahaha, etherized upon a table… i used to have friends who were senior students in med proper. they were so busy then that sometimes, i would visit and chat with them at the morgue (haha) while they were dissecting cadavers. yeah, i have some idea that etherized persons aren’t the best people to look at, lol. 😉
btw, do read the rest of the poem and change your mind, i hope. when you’ve the time, dear, listen to Anthony Hopkins’ reading, it’s nice. 🙂
hope your India time is still proceeding great. my regards to Masood. 🙂
he he…warm regards to you too!! how have u been? I enjoyed this poem!
hello, PC… that surprised you – me seeing your poem seconds after it was published? hehe, talk about timing. thanks. not so good, am afraid. but getting by, ahuh… i thought you would – Eliot and you are both good in imagery, hehe. have a good week! 🙂
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