Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for Eliot

Since April is National Poetry Month, I wanted to write an A-Z post about one of my favorite poems. I decided to go with The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S. Eliot.

I first read this poem when I was in college, and I loved it right off the bat. I don't know why I felt such a connection to it, but I guess that is the beauty of poetry. Sometimes a poem just goes right to your heart, and stays there.

I can still see myself sitting in my dorm room, reading the poem and writing notes in the book's margins for a paper I had been assigned to write. I still have the book, and I have to admit that my scribblings don't seem nearly as brilliant or insightful as I thought they were back then. But I still love the poem.

I realized after writing yesterday's post about Maya's Angelou's "daring to dare" quote that this poem relates to that, as I have always loved this segment:

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

In the poem, the narrator doesn't dare to disturb his universe.

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. 

To me the poem is quite sad, as the narrator is left to wonder:

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while

I have always been touched by the poem's sense of weariness, regret, and resignation, and I find the words very haunting.

I loved my literature classes in college, and T.S. Eliot was among my favorites of the authors I was introduced to through those courses. I still enjoy his work today, as there is a sense of melancholy in his writing that appeals to me. 

I am not an expert on poetry by any stretch, but I always love to come upon a poem that touches me on some emotional level. If anyone has any favorite poets or poems, please share. I would love to discover some new poems, or re-discover some old ones. I can't think of a better way to celebrate National Poetry Month.


  1. Wonderful choice for the E word.
    To be honest I hated poetry at school never realising that someday I would be writing it.


  2. In the room the women come and go
    Talking of Michaelangelo.

    Ohhh, but this is soooo true.

    Wonderful choice! I fell in love with Eliot at university, too.

  3. I really really like T.S. Eliot.

  4. I do a poetry unit with my 8th graders every year, and they always enjoy Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky. Their enthusiasm for it has made me really appreciate the poem's genius.

  5. I must admit something here...I haven't read any T.S. Eliot! OMG.

  6. You hit a nerve with me--I love that poem, also. Like you, I'm not into poetry, but this poem said so much to me, I remember full lines out of it, I apply them to my life events at times when I least expect it. Thanks for reminding me of it.

  7. Powerful words and so so true. I will take ANY emotion over regret any day.

  8. I'm a longtime fan of e e cummings--I love Buffalo Bill's and In just spring and this is the garden. 'Twas my uncle introduced me to this poet, I remember.

  9. I'm not a poem expert, but there have been several that really touched me. I have one framed in my bedroom.

  10. @Yvonne, oh that's funny you hated poetry at school. You write it so well now!

    @Kittie, I love that part as well. Really I love the whole poem, just fabulous.

    @@Karen, me too! :)

    @Tim, oh, it's been a long time since I've read Jabberwocky. I will have to go back to that, thanks for the suggestion.

    @Trisha, no problem! :) There are tons of poets I've never read! I don't know why this one always stuck with me so much.

    @wordreams, I'm so glad you love the poem too, this is really the only one I remember full lines of as well. There is just something about it for sure.

    @Samantha, I totally agree!

    @Julie, oh, it's been a long time since I've read ee cummings as well. I'll have to check those out again.

    @B's Mom, that sounds lovely having a poem framed like that. I agree, I am not an expert either, but sometimes a poem can just really touch you, no doubt.


Thank you for your comments!