Sunday, July 13, 2014

T.S. Eliot - Poetry

Ok, I've heard of T.S. Eliot before.  The poem, 'The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock' is unknown to me.  I have to believe that Eliot's best known poem is 'The Wasteland' but the title of the book is 'The 100 Best Poems of all Time', not the 100 best known.  The full poem is too long for me to type out, so I'll just give you part near the beginning.  The full deal can be found here.

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-desterted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question . . .
Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?"

Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michaelangelo.
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
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 life and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And fora  hundred visions and revisions,
Before taking of a toast and tea.

That's the first part.  As I said, the full poem is available up ahead.  You can read the full thing if you'd like.  Frankly, I didn't understand it.  (Full disclosure: I don't claim to understand 'The Wasteland' either.)  Oh, there are phrases that I like.  Further on than I typed is this: 'I have measured out my life with coffee spoons'.  What a lovely phrase!  In fact, the most meaning that I could get is that this is a long worry about life passing by.
A quick look at Wikipedia tells me that Eliot started writing this when he was about 22 and it was published five years later.  Now that I've passed forty, I can't help but . . . sigh . . . at twenty-somethings that worry about their old age.  Also per Wikipedia: "Because the poem is concerned primarily with the irregular musings of the narrator, it can be difficult to interpret."  So good, it's not just me.
Maybe someday, someone will sit me down and explain Eliot to me.  Until then, I'm lost.  (And I will dare to eat a peach.)

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