This is likely to be my shortest blog post ever because pretty much everything that could be written about this wonderful poem has already been written.
There’s a wide choice of websites to read it on. I read it in the book I have as the “featured image”, which is published by Faber & Faber, London 1972.
You can read it on:
I like hearing it read by the man himself on Youtube:
You can also google notes on, explanations of, discussions about this poem. It’s worth reading this information, if you’re in the mood. This one’s easy to read if you can put up with the adverts:
The point of this blog is to share poems that have inspired me to write my own poems and the gorgeous things I find inspiring about this poem are:
- Memorable rhymes. Rhyme can be frumpy and old-fashioned. These rhymes add to the dreary, resigned feel of the poem:
“In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo”
“Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;”
- Imagery, for example that yellow fog
- Gritty realism: “arms downed with light brown hair”, “do I dare to eat a peach?”
- Repetition: “That is not what I meant at all”
So now to the point ; by which I mean the poetry-writing point . Develop as much self-awareness as you can over the following months (an incredibly useful exercise in itself), then create the poem for your own caricature; your own J.Alfred Prufrock.
The self-awareness bit will almost definitely involve asking people what they think of you, how they see you. A kind way to do this is to ask people what careers they think might suit you. You could look at photographs of yourself. Listen to a recording of your voice. Look up your name on a category list (mine is apparently very middle class). Try meditation and notice what thoughts consume your awareness (you may think your thoughts are about work, whereas they’re actually overshadowed by your passions for cheese sandwiches and Ms X in the accounts department). What have you always wanted to do and why have you never done it? What will you be like when you are old(er)?
Then write your very own J.Alfred Prufrock. It should be interesting.
P.S. I am now beginning the habit of asking someone to please add a comment when one of my blog posts has actually inspired them to write something, so, yes; that. No need to actually post your poem.