Monday, January 31, 2011

The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock

I am currently reading Selected Poems by T. S. Eliot and I have simply fallen in love with him.
I had never read much, if any, of his poems but from the first stanza I was hooked! Isn't it just wonderful discovering "new" poets?

So far, one of my favourite Eliot poems has been "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock" which is one of his most famous poems.
It is a rather long poem so I will only share an excerpt from it. (This excerpt starts {and ends} somewhere in the middle of the poem. I chose this particular section because I amazingly found three images on weheartit that go with it.)

Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

{Pictures found here, here, and here.}


  1. Wow! Absolutely amazing! Are the rest of his poems this good? Because if they are I'll need to get myself a copy. :)

  2. Well, I've only read a small selection of his poems and this was probably the best one (or at least my favourite) of the ones I read, but I really loved the other ones too and would definitely recommend checking them out. :)

  3. I adore this poem! Sadly, it is the only poem of his that I have read. The thought to pick up one of his books has tickled my mind before, I may go do that!

  4. I adore it too! Oh, you should sometime. :)

  5. I'm not a big T.S. Eliot fan, but I LOVE this poem. It's the best thing he's ever written, haha, in my humble opinion. There is so much great imagery that each line is like magic. Since you didn't quote it in your post, I thought I'd share one of my favorite parts - about the mermaids:

    "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 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."

    By the way, my professor had that poster hanging up on her office. It's pretty amazing and I want one :D

  6. Oh, I love this poem.(I had to analyze it in school last year...)The images are just wonderful! I keep intending to read more of him, but keep reading other things instead.

  7. CloudyKim: Oh, yes! I love that part too! The whole thing is bascially amazing.
    I want one too! :)

    Jenica: Oh, analyzing... ick. I fail at that. I'm glad you can still love it even though you had to analyze it. A lot of people hate poetry because of bad highschool analytical experiences.
    I understand how that goes! There are just too many books out there waiting to be read!

  8. Hope you don't mind me reading along, i feel in love with your blog the minute i read your most recent post. I have yet to find someone who is as intrigued in literature and poetry as i am and who has an amazing taste like you do. I love this selection you chose, and am intrigued simply by reading your blog and the quotes that you've chosen.

  9. Of course not, dear! Thank you for joining us! If you would like you can become an author here as well. We have four authors but so far only Melee and I have posted. If you would like to join simply send me an email and I'll add you.y address is Thank you for following! xxx