Monday 6 August 2012

Summer Hiatus

In retrospect I should have declared an official hiatus. From my current perspective I'd have to say that this has turned into a de facto hiatus [hope that's not too much Anglicized latin for you].
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.

From The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock 
by Thomas Stearns Eliot 1920 



  1. Always happy to be reminded of that marvel, even if my initial question was whether you were quoting it from memory (in which case, my memory would have asked a question about trousers--but your memory was better than mine). But more than anything else, being prompted to look at it again is to marvel at the facility of it and the enormous number of memorable phrases. And some I just had not remembered at all. This seems apposite, in many ways.

    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, 115
    Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
    Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
    At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
    Almost, at times, the Fool.

  2. ID,
    I was trying to think of something beautiful to say along the lines of: my spirit seems to have been hijacked. I thought of Sirens, and then Prufrock, and the mermaids. Funny thing. I can recite almost all the lines in what I posted--only thing is, I forget where they go together. Thank you for reminding me that the Hamlet quote is in the same poem. I can recall most of the passage in the right order. But that's because I [too] see my self in those lines. They almost always bring me to tears.

  3. I am afraid my memory of Prufrock is shamefully more cherry picking. patient...spoons...michaelangelo...beach. When I saw the Hamlet passage it was as if I had never read it, and I assuredly had. But perhaps I had not ever identified with high sentences and obtuseness until I got this old, still less did I ever think I was ridiculous. I will remember it now. And I must give myself time to read the whole poem, which remains one of the absolute highlights of poetry for me.
    For what it is worth, Picasso, Matisse and the Beatles produced perfect works of art before they began experimenting with other forms. The sign of true greatness


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