kateoplis: August 14, 1932 -
Don’t expect me to be sane anymore. Don’t let’s be sensible. […]
You became a woman with me. I was almost terrified by it. You are not just thirty years old—you are a thousand years old.
Here I am back and still smoldering with passion, like wine smoking. Not a passion any longer for…
A SEA SHANTY FOR J. ALFRED PRUFROCK
This weekend I was working on another design for litographs - The Poems of T.S. Eliot. This was difficult for me to approach at first. Should I attempt a broad general interpretation? Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach? The answer became evident pretty quickly. I had to pick a poem, and the one I picked was The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. It just kills me, that one. I can’t stop reciting it aloud once I read it again, much to the dismay of my family members.
I won’t wax on for too long. It’s so hard to talk about poetry without feeling pretentious. But one thing I tried to capture with this singular image is how Eliot manages to convey the sense of the smallness of the individual against the majesty of the infinite. Something like that. I’d sing for Mr. Prufrock. And I do. I do!
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.
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.
I do not think 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.
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True poetic practice implies a mind so miraculously attuned and illuminated that it can form words, by a chain of more-than coincidences, into a living entity. — Edward Hirsch