St. Robert C.H.S.
12 University Poetry
Sp ec ial po in ts
o f i n te re st:
FREE VERSE Volume 1, Issue 1 2010
Thoughts on Poetry
simple, self-contained, and
SONG LYRICS APOET IS LIMITED in the unpretentious
materials he can use in
creating his works: all he Fortunately, the English
Inside this issue: language contains a wide
has are words to express
The Sound of Words 2 his ideas and feelings. range of words from which “Words mean more than what is
These words need to be to choose for almost every set down on paper. It tae the
precisely right on several thought, and there are also human voice to infuse them with
The Meaning of Words 3 numerous plans or methods
levels at once: deeper meaning.”
of arrangement of these ~Maya Angelou
The Arrangement of Words 4 • they must sound right to the words, called poetic de-
listener even as they delight
vices, which can assist the poet has created his work.
The Arrangement of Words 5 • they must have a meaning writer in developing cogent Words or portions of words
cont. which might have been unan- expressions pleasing to his can be clustered or juxtaposed
ticipated, but seems to be readers. to achieve specific kinds of
The Images of Words 6 the perfectly right one Even though most poetry effects when we hear them.
• they must be arranged in a today is read silently, it The sounds that result can
relationship and placed on the must still carry with it the strike us as clever and pleas-
Poetry Explication Essay 7
Structure page in ways that are at once feeling of being spoken ing, even soothing. Others we
easy to follow and assist the dislike and strive to avoid.
aloud, and the reader
Allegorical Verse: Because I 8 reader in understanding These various deliberate ar-
could not Stop for Death should practice “hearing” it rangements of words have
• they must probe the depths
in order to catch all of the been identified.
of human thought, emotion,
Free Verse: 9 and empathy, while appearing artfulness with which the
Lyric Poetry: 10
Song Lyrics: 11
Avoid the Unnecessary Use of the
Afternoons and Coffeespoons
Dramatic Monologue: The Love 12
Verb "to be" (CONSIDER USING THE FOLLOWING INSTEAD:)
Song of J. Alfred Prufrock dramatizes asserts asserts addresses
Dramatic Monologue: The Love 13 presents posits posits emphasizes
Song of J. Alfred Prufrock cont. illustrates enacts enacts stresses
Dramatic Monologue: The Love 14 characterizes connects connects accentuates
Song of J. Alfred Prufrock cont.
underlines portrays portrays enables
Personal Notes 15
Publication Information 16
THE SOUNDS OF WORDS
Words or portions of Alliteration: Repeated con- Asso na nce : Repeated
words can be clustered sonant sounds at the begin- vowel sounds in words
or juxtaposed to ning of words placed near placed near each other, usu-
achieve specific kinds each other, usually on the ally on the same or adjacent
of effects when we same or adjacent lines. A lines. These should be in
hear them. The sounds somewhat looser definition sounds that are accented, or
that result can strike us is that it is the use of the stressed, rather than in
same consonant in any part vowel sounds that are unac-
as clever and pleasing, of adjacent words. cented.
even soothing. Others
we dislike and strive to Example: Peter and Andrew Example: He‟s a bruisin‟
avoid. These various patted the pony at Ascot loser
"A poem ments of words have
should not been identified.
Consonance: Repeated Euphony: A series of musi- Rhythm: speech rhythms
~ Archibald consonant sounds at the cally pleasant sounds, con- (verbal stresses) into a regu-
MacLeish ending of words placed near veying a sense of harmony lar pattern of accented syl-
American Poet each other, usually on the and beauty to the language. lables separated by unac-
(1892-1982) same or adjacent lines. cented syllables. Rhythm
These should be in sounds Example: Than Oars divide helps to distinguish poetry
that are accented, or the Ocean, from prose.
stressed, rather than in Too silver for a seam—
"The true phi- vowel sounds that are unac- Example: i THOUGHT i
losopher and cented. This produces a Onomatopoeia: Words that SAW a PUSsyCAT.
pleasing kind of near- sound like their meanings.
the true poet are rhyme. Meter: is measured by the
one, and a Example: boom, buzz, number of feet. A line with
beauty, which is Example: boats into the crackle five feet is called pentame-
truth, and a past ter; thus, a line of five
truth, which is Repetition: The purposeful iambs is known as “iambic
Cacophony A discordant re-use of words and phrases pentameter”
beauty, is the series of harsh, unpleasant for an effect.
aim of both." sounds helps to convey dis- The most common line
order. This is often fur- Example: I was glad; so lengths are:
Ralph Waldo Emerson thered very, very glad.
American Poet (1803- by the combined effect of monometer: one foot
1882) the meaning and the diffi- tetrameter: four feet
Rhyme: Words that
culty of pronunciation. have different beginning heptameter: seven feet
sounds but whose endings dimeter: two feet
Example: My stick fingers sound alike pentameter: five feet
click with a snicker octameter: eight feet
And, chuckling, they Example: time, slime, mime trimeter: three feet
knuckle the keys hexameter: six feet
12 University Poetry
Volume 1, Issue 1 Page 3
THE MEANING OF WORDS
Allegory: A representation of Ambiguity: A word or phrase
M ost words convey several an abstract or spiritual meaning.
Sometimes it can be a single
that can mean more than one
thing, even in its context. Poets
meanings or shades of meaning word or phrase, such as the often search out such words to
at the same time. It is the poet‟s name of a character or place. add richness to their work. Of-
job to find words which, when Often, it is a symbolic narrative ten, one meaning seems quite
used in relation to other words that has not only a literal mean- readily apparent, but other,
in the poem, will carry the pre- ing, but a larger one understood deeper and darker meanings,
cise intention of thought. Often, only after reading the entire await those who contemplate
some of the more significant story or poem the poem.
words may carry several layers
or “depths” of meaning at once. Allusion: A brief reference to Example: Robert Frost‟s „The
The ways in which the mean- some person, historical event, Subverted Flower‟
ings of words are used can be work of art, or Biblical or "Poetry lifts
identified. mythological situation or char-
the veil from
Analogy: A comparison, usu- what distinguishes the precisely Metonymy: A figure of speech world, and
ally something unfamiliar with correct word from one that in which a person, place, or
something familiar. is merely acceptable. thing is referred to by something
Example: The plumbing took a closely iar objects
maze of turns where even water Denotation: The dictionary associated with it. be as if they
got lost. definition of a word Example: The White House stated were not fa-
today that... Example: The Crown
reported today that... miliar."
Apostrophe: Speaking directly Euphemism: An understate-
to a real or imagined listener or ment, used to lessen the effect Oxymoron: A combination of Percy Bysshe
inanimate object; addressing of a statement; substituting two words that appear to contra- Shelley
that person or something innocuous dict each other. English Poet
thing by name. for something that might be Example: a pointless point of (1792-1822)
Example: O Captain! My Cap- offensive or hurtful. view; bittersweet
tain! our fearful trip is done… Example: She is at rest.
Paradox: A statement in which
(meaning, she‟s dead)
a seeming contradiction may
Cliché: Any figure of speech
reveal an unexpected truth. Ex-
that was once clever and origi- Hyperbole: An outrageous ex- ample: The faster I go the more
nal but through overuse has aggeration used for effect. behind I get.
become outdated. If Example: He weighs a ton.
you‟ve heard more than two or Personification: Attributing
three other people say it more Irony: A contradictory state- human characteristics to an in-
than two or three times, chances ment or situation to reveal a animate object, animal, or ab-
are the reality different from what ap- stract idea.
phrase is too timeworn to be pears to be true. Example: The days crept by
useful in your writing. Example: Wow, thanks for ex- slowly, sorrowfully.
Example: busy as a bee pensive gift...let‟s see: did it Synecdoche: Indicating a per-
come with a Fun Meal or the son, object, etc. by letting only a
Connotation: The emotional, Burger King certain part represent the whole.
psychological or social over- equivalent? Example: All hands on deck. William
tones of a word; its implications
and associations apart from its Shakespeare
literal meaning. Often, this is
The Arrangement of Words
Words follow each other in Point of View: The au- • 1st Person: the speaker is
a sequence determined by thor‟s point of view concen- a character in the story or
the poet. In order to discuss trates on the vantage point poem and tells it from his/
the arrangements that result, of the speaker, or “teller” of her perspective (uses “I”).
certain terms have been the story or poem. This may
applied to various aspects • 3rd Person limited: the
be considered the poem‟s
of that arrangement process. speaker is not part of the
“voice” — the pervasive
Although in some ways story, but tells about the
presence behind the overall
these sequences seem arbi- other characters through the
work. This is also some-
trary and mechanical, in limited perceptions of one
times referred to as the per-
another sense they help to other person.
determine the nature of the
"Poets are poem.
masters of us
in knowledge of
the mind, • 3rd Person omniscient: the series of metrical feet. Gen- There is a natural tendency
because they speaker is not part of the erally, but not always, the when reading poetry to
drink at story, but is able to “know” line is printed as one single pause at the end of a line,
and describe what all char- line on the page. If it occu- but the careful reader will
we have not yet
acters are thinking. pies more than one line, its follow the punctuation to
remainder is usually in- find where natural pauses
ble to science." Line: The line is funda- dented to indicate that it is a should occur.
mental to the perception of continuation.
poetry, marking an impor- In traditional verse forms,
tant visual distinction from the length of each line is
"Poetry is an prose. Poetry is arranged determined by convention,
orphan of si- into a series of units that do but in modern poetry the
lence. not necessarily correspond poet has more latitude for
The words to sentences, but rather to a choice.
equal the ex-
Verse: One single line of a Stanza: A division of a lines that are all of the same
poem arranged in a metrical poem created by arranging length and meter, nor even
pattern. Also, a piece of the lines into a unit, often the same number of lines in
Charles Simic poetry or a particular form repeated in the same pattern each stanza. Stanzas created
American Poet of poetry such as free verse, of meter and rhyme by such irregular line
born in 1938
blank verse, etc., or the art throughout the poem; a unit groupings are often dictated
or work of a poet. The of poetic lines (a by meaning, as in para-
popular use of the word “paragraph” within the graphs of prose.
verse for a stanza or associ- poem). The stanzas within a
ated group of metrical lines poem are separated by
is not in accordance with blank lines. Stanzas in
the best usage. A stanza is a modern poetry, such as free
group of verses. verse, often do not have
12 University Poetry
Volume 1, Issue 1 Page 5
Stanza Forms: The names Enjambment: The continua- Form: The arrangement or
given to describe the number of tion of the logical sense — method used to convey the
lines in a stanzaic unit, such as: and therefore the grammati- content, such as free verse,
couplet (2), tercet (3), quatrain ballad, haiku, etc. In other
cal construction —beyond "Poetry
(4), quintet (5), sestet (6), septet words, the “way-it-is-said.” A
the end of a line of poetry. should be
(7), and octave (8). Some stan-
This is sometimes done with variably interpreted term, great and
zas follow a set rhyme scheme however, it sometimes applies unobtru-
and meter in addition to the the title, which in effect be-
to details within the composi- sive, a
number of lines and are given comes the first line of the
tion of a text, but is probably thing
specific names to describe them, poem. which en-
used most often in reference to
such as, ballad meter, ottava ters into
the structural characteristics of
rima, rhyme royal, terza rima, one's
a work as it compares to (or
and Spenserian stanza. soul,
differs from) established
modes of conventionalized not star-
arrangements. tle it or
SOME FORMS: scribed pattern or structure — Quatrain: a four-line stanza,
the poet determines all the vari- or a grouping of four lines of
Open: poetic form free from
ables as seems appropriate for verse subject."
regularity and consistency in each poem
elements such as rhyme, line
length, and metrical form Couplet: a pair of lines, usually English Poet
rhymed; this is the shortest (1795-1821)
Closed: poetic form subject to a stanza
fixed structure and pattern
Heroic Couplet: a pair of
Blank Verse: unrhymed iambic rhymed lines in iambic pen-
pentameter (much of the plays tameter (traditional heroic epic
of Shakespeare are written in form)
Free Verse: lines with no pre-
Lyric: derived from the (usually single) emotional
Greek word for lyre, lyric element predominates. Rang-
poetry was originally de- ing from complex thoughts to
signed to be sung. One of the the simplicity of playful wit,
three main groups of poetry the melodic imagery of skill-
(the others being narrative fully written lyric poetry
and dramatic), lyric verse is evokes in the reader‟s mind
the most frequently used the recall of similar emo-
modern form, including all tional experiences.
poems in which the speaker‟s
ardent expression of a
The Images of Words
Imagery: The use of vivid the concrete things so through imaginative use and
language to generate ideas brought to mind. combinations of diction.
and/or evoke mental im-
ages, not only of the visual Poetry works it magic by In addition to its more tan-
sense, but of sensation and the way it uses words to gible initial impact, effec-
emotion as well. While evoke “images” that carry tive imagery has the poten-
most commonly used in depths of meaning. tial to tap the inner wisdom
reference to figurative lan- of the reader to arouse
The poet‟s carefully de- meditative and inspirational
guage, imagery can apply to
scribed impressions of responses.
any component of a poem
sight, sound, smell, taste
that evoke sensory experi-
and touch can be transferred
ence and emotional re-
"There's no to the thoughtful reader
sponse, and also applies to
no poetry Related images are often Sound: Tom placed his ear Synesthesia: An attempt
in money, clustered or scattered tightly against the wall; he to fuse different senses
either." throughout a work, thus could hear a faint but dis- by describing one kind of
serving to create a particu- tinct thump thump thump.
Robert Graves sense impression in
English Poet lar mood or tone. Images of
(1895-1985) Touch: The burlap wall words normally used to
disease, corruption, and
covering scraped against the describe another.
death, for example, are re-
current patterns shaping our little boy‟s cheek.
"A poem is Example: The sound of
never fin- perceptions of Shake-
• Taste: A salty tear ran her voice was sweet.
ished, only speare‟s Hamlet.
across onto her lips.
aban- Example: a loud aroma, a
Ex: Sight: Smoke mysteri-
doned." Smell: Cinnamon! That‟s velvety smile
ously puffed out from the
what wafted into his nos-
Paul Valery clown‟s ears.
Tone, Mood: The means by and attitudes. Tone can as interpreted through inflec-
which a poet reveals atti- also refer to the overall tions of the voice; in poetry,
tudes and feelings, in the mood of the poem itself, in this is conveyed through the
style of language or expres- the sense of a pervading use of connotation, diction,
sion of thought used to de- atmosphere intended to figures of speech, rhythm
velop the subject. Certain influence the readers‟ emo- and other elements of poetic
tones include not only irony tional response and foster construction.
and satire, but may be lov- expectations of the conclu-
ing, condescending, bitter, sion. Another use of tone is
pitying, fanciful, solemn, in reference to pitch or to
and a host of other emotions the demeanour of a speaker
12 University Poetry
Volume 1, Issue 1 Page 7
Poetry Explication Essay Structure
Paragraph #2 – literal Last Paragraph – the
summary of the poem. title on a connotative "A poet who
Last sentence of para- level, auditory devices makes use
graph is the thesis (sound devices), discuss of a worse
statement (the theme the meaning of the last
stead of a
and the tone – positive line of the poem. better, be-
or negative) cause the
Paragraph #1 – Back- former fits
ground to the author (if Paragraph #3-? – full the rhyme or
you know anything) connotation analysis of the meas-
the poem…remember ure, though
to use the lit devices it weakens
the sense, is
like a jew-
TP-CASTT eler, who
Title: What does the title overtones of diction. Con- stanza division, changes in
cuts a dia-
mean? Consider carefully sider figurative language. line and or stanza length, mond into a
the title’s connotation before irony, (which sometimes brilliant, and
reading a selection or poem. Attitude: the poet's (TONE) hides shifts), effects of struc- diminishes
Basic analysis of Tone: ture on meaning.
Paraphrase: Translate the DIDLS or PDIDLS. Look for
poem into other easily under- speaker’s attitude toward Title: Examine title again, to make it
standable words. Literal/ self, other characters, and this time on an interpretative shine more."
denotative meaning only, the subject. Observe both level.
resist the urge to interpret. the speaker’s and the poet’s Horace Walpole
Look for syntactical units, (TONE) attitude. Do not con- Theme: Determine what the English Poet
complete sentences and en- fuse them. poet is saying. List what the (1717-1797)
jambment. poem is about (the subjects),
Shifts: in speakers and in then determine what the
Connotation: Extend be- attitudes. Look for occasion poem is saying about each of
yond the literal level men- of poem (time and place), these subjects (purpose,
tioned above. Emotional key words, punctuation, theme, message).
PDIDLS for Tone
Point of View: the narrative‟s Details: facts included or omit- Sentence Structure:
perspective. First, third person, ted based on speakers perspec- how structure affects
limited or omniscient. tive. the reader‟s attitude.
Determine what the
Diction: the connotation of the Language: The overall use of poet is saying..
word choice. language such as formal, clini-
cal, jargon, emotional. These
Images: vivid appeals which words describe force or quality
create understanding through of diction, images, and details--
the senses using figurative lan- they qualify how the work is
guage. written .
An allegory is a Edmund Spenser,
narrative having a Pilgrim's Progress
second meaning by John Bunyan
beneath the sur- and Young Good-
face one - a story man Brown by Na-
with two mean- thaniel Hawthorne.
ings, a literal
meaning and a
Examples of alle-
"Each memora- gories are the
ble verse of a Fairie Queen by
has two or three
times the written
Because I Could Not Stop for Death
Alfred de Musset
French Romantic Poet Because I could not stop for Death,
(1810-1857) He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
"Poets utter And I had put away
great and wise My labor, and my leisure too,
things which For his civility.
they do not
themselves un- We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
derstand." We passed the fields of gazing grain, Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massa-
We passed the setting sun. chusetts, to a family well known for educa-
Plato tional and political activity. Her father was
Or rather, he passed us; an orthodox Calvinist who was a lawyer and
The dews grew quivering and chill, served for a time in Congress. Emily studied
For only gossamer my gown, at Amherst Academy (1834-47) and a cou-
My tippet only tulle. ple of years after finishing her education she
began writing poetry. At the age of 23 Emily
withdrew more and more into a secluded life,
We paused before a house that seemed rarely venturing out into social circles. Emily
A swelling of the ground; spent most of her time in her room often com-
The roof was scarcely visible, posing poetry. Although Emily led a reclusive
The cornice but a mound. outer life, she did correspond with writers
such as John Keats, John Ruskin, and Sir Tho-
Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each mas Browne. However although her outer life
Feels shorter than the day was one of great simplicity the poetry of
I first surmised the horses' heads Emily Dickinson offers a wealth of spontane-
Were toward eternity. ity and creativity.
12 University Poetry
Volume 1, Issue 1 Page 9
does not conform to any translations of the biblical
regular metre: the length of Psalms and in some poems of
its lines is irregular, as is its Blake and Goethe, but estab- "He who
use of rhyme—if any. Instead lished itself only in the late draws no-
of a regular metrical pattern 19th and early 20th centuries
it uses more flexible cadences with Walt Whitman, the
or rhythmic groupings, some- French Symbolists, and the
times supported by anaphora poets of modernism. Free poetry is a
and other devices of repeti- verse should not be confused true poet,
tion. Now the most widely with blank verse, which does though he
Free verse (or, in French, vers practised verse form in Eng- observe a regular metre in its has never
libre), a kind of poetry that lish, it has precedents in unrhymed lines. written a
line in all
I, Icarus ~Alden Nowlan George Sand
There was a time when I could fly. I swear it. French writer
Perhaps, if I thing hard for a moment, I can even tell you the year. who used the
My room was on the ground floor at the rear of the house. George Sand
My bed faced a window. (1804-1876)
Night after night I lay on my bed and willed myself to fly.
It was hard work, I can tell you.
Sometimes I lay perfectly still for an hour before I felt my body
rising from the bed.
I rose slowly, slowly until I floated three or four feet above the
Then, with a kind of swimming motion, I propelled myself toward
Outside, I rose higher and higher, above the pasture fence, above
the clothesline, above the dark, haunted trees beyond the
And, all the time, I heard the music of flutes.
It seemed the wind make this music.
And sometimes there were voices singing.
Alden Nowlan left school before graduating and during his adolescent years worked at a variety of
jobs, all of them menial, manual, or both. He was a pulp cutter, a farmhand, a sawmill worker, a
night watchman, a ditch digger and a logger. Primarily self-educated, he later went on to work as a
newspaperman, and published poetry, plays, short stories, and novels. Born on January 25, 1933
at Windsor, Novia Scotia, he is widely recognized as one of the most important poets to appear in
Canada in the last thirty years. His poetry collection Bread, Wine and Salt won the Governor’s Gen-
eral award in 1967. Much of his work reflects his regional roots and an affection for the ordinary
people. He died in Fredericton June 27, 1983.
Lyric Poetry consists of a poem, such as a sonnet or an ode, that ex-
presses the thoughts and feelings of the poet. The term lyric is now com-
monly referred to as the words to a song. Lyric poetry does not tell a
story which portrays characters and actions. The lyric poet addresses the
reader directly, portraying his or her own feeling, state of mind, and per-
Summer Night ~Langston Hughes
artist is in ac-
cord with him-
"From Mozart I
learnt to say im-
portant things in
way." Langston Hughes was born in 1902
George Bernard Shaw and died in 1967 of cancer. He was
a great poet that inspired many lives.
He had many experiences traveling
the world and living in Harlem that
influenced his writing. Hughes was
known as Harlem’s Poet”(Langston).
Hughes inspired many through the
depression giving motivational
speeches and writing. He kept black
American life a reality in front of a
wide audience of readers.
12 University Poetry
Verse or poem that can, or supposedly can, be sung to musical accompani-
ment (in ancient times, usually a lyre) or that expresses intense personal emo-
tion in a manner suggestive of a song. Lyric poetry expresses the thoughts
and feelings of the poet and is sometimes contrasted with narrative poetry
and verse drama, which relate events in the form of a story.
(born January 10,
Afternoons and Coffeespoons
1964, W i n ni p e g,
Manitoba) is the lead What is it that makes me just a little bit queasy?
There's a breeze that makes my breathing not so easy
singer and guitarist for
the Canadian folk-rock I've had my lungs checked out with X rays
band Crash Test Dum- I've smelled the hospital hallways
mies. He sings in the
Someday I'll have a disappearing hairline
His musical career Someday I'll wear pyjamas in the daytime
began with a Bache-
lor's degree with Hon- Times when the day is like a play by Sartre
ours from University
of Winnipeg in 1986. When it seems a bookburning's in perfect order -
Roberts began per- I gave the doctor my description
forming in a house I tried to stick to my prescriptions
band for the Blue Note
Cafe in Winnipeg un-
der the moniker Bad Someday I'll have a disappearing hairline
Brad Roberts and the Someday I'll wear pyjamas in the daytime
St. James Rhythm
Pigs. The band gradu- Afternoons will be measured out
ally evolved into The Measured out, measured with
Crash Test Dummies. Coffeespoons and T.S. Eliot
While studying at uni-
versity and working as
a bartender at The Maybe if I could do a play-by-playback
Spectrum Cabaret, I could change the test results that I will get back
Roberts began writing I've watched the summer evenings pass by
his own songs and in-
troducing them to the I've heard the rattle in my bronchi …
band. After attending a
Someday I'll have a disappearing hairline
with Lyle Lovett at the Someday I'll wear pyjamas in the daytime
Winnipeg Folk Festi-
val, Brad wrote Afternoons will be measured out
"Superman's Song." Measured out, measured with
Coffeespoons and T.S. Eliot
12 University Poetry
A dramatic monologue is a
combination of the words
dramatic and monologue
(obviously). The "dramatic"
says that it could be acted
out, and is a form of drama,
while the "monologue" de-
fines it as a speech that one
person makes, either to
themself or to another. A
dramatic monologue is writ-
ten to reveal both the situa-
tion at hand and the charac-
Thomas Stearns Eliot (September 26,
1888 – January 4, 1964) was born in St.
Louis, Missouri, the youngest of seven
children raised as a Unitarian. He stud-
ied at Harvard University where he was
recognized as a brilliant student and (1) A passage from Dante Alighieri's
where he began work on his poem "The
Inferno (Canto 27, lines 61-66) spo-
Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," one of
his best-known works. After graduating, ken by Guido da Montefeltro in re-
he continued his studies in Germany, sponse to the questions of Dante,
France and at Oxford University.
who Guido supposes is dead, since
he is in Hell:. The flame in which
Guido is encased vibrates as he
Poem speaks: "If I thought that that I was
Introduction replying to someone who would
S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse
ever return to the world, this flame
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo, would cease to flicker. But since no
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
one ever returns from these depths
Non torno vivo alcun, s'i'odo il vero, alive, if what I've heard is true, I will
Senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo. (1)
answer you without fear of infamy."
12 University Poetry
Volume 1, Issue 1 Page 13
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock ~T. S. Eliot
Let us go then, you and I, And indeed there will be time
When the evening is spread out against the sky To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Like a patient etherized (2) upon a table; Time to turn back and descend the stair,
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, With a bald spot in the middle of my hair--
The muttering retreats [They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!"]
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
And sawdust (3) restaurants with oyster-shells: My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin--
Streets that follow like a tedious argument [They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!"]
Of insidious intent Do I dare
To lead you to an overwhelming question . . . Disturb the universe?
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?" In a minute there is time
Let us go and make our visit. For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
In the room the women come and go For I have known them all already, known them all:--
Talking of Michelangelo. (4) Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes, I know the voices dying with a dying fall
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes Beneath the music from a farther room.
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening, So how should I presume?
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys, And I have known the eyes already, known them all--
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap, The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And seeing that it was a soft October night, And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep. When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
And indeed there will be time To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street, And how should I presume?
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time And I have known the arms already, known them all--
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet; Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
There will be time to murder and create, [But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
And time for all the works and days of hands Is it perfume from a dress
That lift and drop a question on your plate; That makes me so digress?
Time for you and time for me, Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And should I then presume?
And for a hundred visions and revisions, And how should I begin?
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
Talking of Michelangelo.
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock cont.
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, (9) 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,
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Smoothed by long fingers, Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Asleep . . . tired . . . or it malingers, Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me. At times, indeed, almost ridiculous--
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices, (5) Almost, at times, the Fool.
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed, I grow old . . .I grow old . . .
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
I am no prophet--and here's no great matter; Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
And in short, I was afraid.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea, I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me, Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
Would it have been worth while, When the wind blows the water white and black.
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
To roll it toward some overwhelming question, By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
To say: "I am Lazarus, (7) come from the dead Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
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. (2) Anesthetized with ether; but also sug-
That is not it, at all." gesting "made etherial," less real.
(3) Cheap bars and restaurants used to
And would it have been worth it, after all, spread sawdust on the floor to soak up
Would it have been worth while, spilled beer, etc.
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets, (4) The great Renaissance Italian artist.
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the (5) Cookies and ice cream.
floor-- (6) Like John the Baptist (see Matthew 14: 1-
And this, and so much more?-- 12)
It is impossible to say just what I mean! (7) A man raised from death by Jesus (see
But as if a magic lantern (8) threw the nerves in patterns on a screen: John 11: 1-44). Eliot may also have had in
Would it have been worth while mind the Lazarus in the parable told by Jesus
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl, in Luke 16:19-31, in which case the poetical
And turning toward the window, should say: Lazarus would have returned to deliver a
"That is not it at all, message which the Biblical Lazarus could not.
That is not what I meant, at all." (8) Early form of slide projector.
(9) Shakespeare's sensitive hero known
..... for procrastination.
12 University Poetry
Volume 1, Issue 1 Page 15
St. Robert Catholic High School was the first high
school in the York Catholic District School Board.
The high school was first established in 1975 on the
original site of St. Robert Elementary School. In
January 1989 the final addition was added to the
school to complete the high school, as it exists to-
St. Robert C.H.S. day. Over the years St. Robert Catholic High School
has developed a reputation in the community for
8101 Leslie Street
academic excellence, exuberant school spirit, and
commitment to the needs of others. Our staff, stu-
L3T 7P4 dents and parents work hard to maintain the 29-year
Phone: 905-889-4982 tradition that has enabled our graduates to contrib-
ute both personally and professionally to their com-
English is the backbone of munities. One of our most gratifying accomplish-
ments is the number of graduates who have entered
every job! the teaching profession, many of them returning to
teach for the Y.C.D.S.B.