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Celebrating Poetic Genius: T.S. Elliot

This poem, the first time I learned of it and studied it, was back in high school in an English class with a brilliant and inspired teacher, so in love with poetry that he infected us all with his passion. T.S. Elliot--this guy was a true genius.

“The Love Song of J. Alfred Pufrock,” by T.S. Elliot leaves me speechless. It is complete and well resolved in a way that leaves me fully satisfied.  I love the pace, the atmosphere he creates and his incredible use of personification. Elliot asks us to look at the world through unfiltered eyes. He dares us to take an honest look at our surroundings, the places we go and ultimately at ourselves as we evolve, change and age. 


                                 (Vincent Van Gogh - "Self Portrait" 1889)

This is the anthem of artists and writers.

Here is an excerpt for you to enjoy on what seems to be a promising Sunday morning:

The Love Song of J. Alfred Pufrock
T.S. Elliot (1888 – 1965)

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

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.

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.

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

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.


Read more of this poem here

                            (Claude Monet - "Waterloo Bridge, London at Sunset")

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