Monday, June 28, 2010

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Yesterday, during an incredible thunderstorm, I was thinking about one of my favorite poems. Maybe because of the references to water...
My husband and I often read aloud to one another on long trips or sometimes before we drift off to sleep. Yesterday, I opened the curtains and we lay in bed together to watch the play of the wind in the trees and listen to the thunder. He listened attentively as I read aloud the many pages of  The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock...

"There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea."

                    My Husband and fellow poet, Ken.

And, with gentle humor, during the rare moments that I look closely at my aging face in the mirror, I have been known to quote Eliot's words:

"I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?

I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."

and then, the end; is my most favorite part:

"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."

Make yourself a cup of might like to read the whole thing here.
Do you have a favorite poem? I'd love to know what it is....


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  2. i like this one by e.e. cummings

    i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
    my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
    i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
    by only me is your doing,my darling)
    i fear
    no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
    no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
    and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
    and whatever a sun will always sing is you

    here is the deepest secret nobody knows
    (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
    and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
    higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
    and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

    i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

  3. This portion of Whitman's Song of Myself plays about my head almost daily:

    And I say to mankind, Be not curious about God,
    For I, who am curious about each, am not curious about God;
    (No array of terms can say how much I am at peace about God, and about death.)

    I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least,
    Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than myself.

    Why should I wish to see God better than this day?
    I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and each moment then;
    In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass;
    I find letters from God dropt in the street—and every one is sign’d by God’s name,
    And I leave them where they are, for I know that wheresoe’er I go,
    Others will punctually come forever and ever.

  4. Stop all the clocks:

    W. H. Auden

    Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
    Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
    Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
    Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

    Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
    Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
    Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
    Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

    He was my North, my South, my East and West,
    My working week and my Sunday rest,
    My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
    I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

    The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
    Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
    Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
    For nothing now can ever come to any good.

  5. Other favourites include:

    Do not stand at my grave and weep (Mary Frye)
    The charge of the light horse brigade (A Tennyson)

    and for something light hearted:
    The Jabberwocky (L Carroll)
    one fine day, in the middle of the night


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