Msnowe's Blog

Poetic Reflections (M.Snowe graffatis poems she’s been pondering lately)

Posted in Eliot, Overwhelming Question, Time by m.snowe on June 20, 2008

T. S. Eliot: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1919) (It’s best to start with a favorite) (–commentary in italics–)


S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse

A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,

Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.

Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo

Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,

Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

–m.snowe wishes she could say/do some things, and then as soon as appropriate, wipe away the memory of her words/actions from the minds of all who saw/heard, just so she could feel the effect and weigh the choice of her full-disclosure–

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-deserted 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.

–Lately, overwhelmed seems like an understatement. Something happens, and your world is changed. It could be anything, but most likely it is a mundane event, something that perhaps has happened to you many, many times before, just at a different location, or with different people. Suddenly, you’ve made a revelation. And it is sudden–sure, you may have seen it lurking, slouching towards Bethlehem if you will, but faint anticipation has nothing on the full-force of combined realization and emotional impact–it’s like being pummeled from all angles in the brain, and physically being pummeled to the ground, with a slowed and achy after-effect. The funny part is you are hyper-functional: things get done. But you can’t eat, you can’t sleep, you can’t carry on an extended thought farther than the corner of the next avenue before you are pulled back into the fray of your overwhelming revelation.–

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michangelo.

–Time passes, but you don’t want it to. You only relive all moments connected with your revelation-that is more real than reality, as far as you’re concerned.–

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,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
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.

–you’ve been transformed-you are no longer that participatory being, but the surveyor, the outer one who effects no change and wishes no change except the overwhelming revelation.–

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 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.

–you try to fool yourself with waiting-but you know better-the waiting is a necessary evil, the delusitory front of action in your self-determined path of non-action–

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

–more time, nothing changes–

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair–
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin–
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

-these questions, all these questions–none are answered, and none have a home outside your head. Do people really know each other?–

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?

–Already knowing and simultaneously hating the end of the plot, how do you bring yourself to live out the story?–

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!]
Is it 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.

. . . . .

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep . . . tired . . . or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet–and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”–
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

–How are you yourself when what you say and what you think is diametrically opposed, or at least deceitful to your thoughts? It’s one thing to lie on purpose, but it’s quite another to lie for a noble or unshameful purpose.–

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the
floor–
And this, and so much more?–
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic latern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”

–How are experiences judged when you have no idea what the other is thinking? What really happens?–

. . . . .

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.

–You can deny all you want, but we are all our own keepers.–

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 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.

–Amazing how we stay afloat when overwhelming thoughts are bearing down, against our untold judgment–

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Poetic Reflections (M.Snowe graffatis poems she’s been pondering lately)

Posted in Eliot, Overwhelming Question, Time by m.snowe on June 20, 2008

T. S. Eliot: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1919) (It’s best to start with a favorite) (–commentary in italics–)


S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse

A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,

Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.

Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo

Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,

Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

–m.snowe wishes she could say/do some things, and then as soon as appropriate, wipe away the memory of her words/actions from the minds of all who saw/heard, just so she could feel the effect and weigh the choice of her full-disclosure–

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-deserted 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.

–Lately, overwhelmed seems like an understatement. Something happens, and your world is changed. It could be anything, but most likely it is a mundane event, something that perhaps has happened to you many, many times before, just at a different location, or with different people. Suddenly, you’ve made a revelation. And it is sudden–sure, you may have seen it lurking, slouching towards Bethlehem if you will, but faint anticipation has nothing on the full-force of combined realization and emotional impact–it’s like being pummeled from all angles in the brain, and physically being pummeled to the ground, with a slowed and achy after-effect. The funny part is you are hyper-functional: things get done. But you can’t eat, you can’t sleep, you can’t carry on an extended thought farther than the corner of the next avenue before you are pulled back into the fray of your overwhelming revelation.–

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michangelo.

–Time passes, but you don’t want it to. You only relive all moments connected with your revelation-that is more real than reality, as far as you’re concerned.–

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,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
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.

–you’ve been transformed-you are no longer that participatory being, but the surveyor, the outer one who effects no change and wishes no change except the overwhelming revelation.–

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 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.

–you try to fool yourself with waiting-but you know better-the waiting is a necessary evil, the delusitory front of action in your self-determined path of non-action–

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

–more time, nothing changes–

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair–
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin–
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

-these questions, all these questions–none are answered, and none have a home outside your head. Do people really know each other?–

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?

–Already knowing and simultaneously hating the end of the plot, how do you bring yourself to live out the story?–

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!]
Is it 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.

. . . . .

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep . . . tired . . . or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet–and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”–
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

–How are you yourself when what you say and what you think is diametrically opposed, or at least deceitful to your thoughts? It’s one thing to lie on purpose, but it’s quite another to lie for a noble or unshameful purpose.–

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the
floor–
And this, and so much more?–
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic latern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”

–How are experiences judged when you have no idea what the other is thinking? What really happens?–

. . . . .

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.

–You can deny all you want, but we are all our own keepers.–

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 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.

–Amazing how we stay afloat when overwhelming thoughts are bearing down, against our untold judgment–

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: