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2/18/2015

TheLoveSongofJ.AlfredPrufrockbyT.S.Eliot:PoetryMagazine

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TheLoveSongofJ.AlfredPrufrock
BYT.S.ELIOT

Siocredessechemiarispostafosse
Apersonachemaitornassealmondo,
Questafiammastariasenzapiuscosse.
Maperciochegiammaidiquestofondo
Nontornovivoalcun,siodoilvero,
Senzatemadinfamiatirispondo.
Letusgothen,youandI,
Whentheeveningisspreadoutagainstthesky
Likeapatientetherizeduponatable
Letusgo,throughcertainhalfdesertedstreets,
Themutteringretreats
Ofrestlessnightsinonenightcheaphotels
Andsawdustrestaurantswithoystershells:
Streetsthatfollowlikeatediousargument
Ofinsidiousintent
Toleadyoutoanoverwhelmingquestion...
Oh,donotask,Whatisit?
Letusgoandmakeourvisit.
Intheroomthewomencomeandgo
TalkingofMichelangelo.
Theyellowfogthatrubsitsbackuponthewindowpanes,
Theyellowsmokethatrubsitsmuzzleonthewindowpanes,
Lickeditstongueintothecornersoftheevening,
Lingereduponthepoolsthatstandindrains,
Letfalluponitsbackthesootthatfallsfromchimneys,
Slippedbytheterrace,madeasuddenleap,
AndseeingthatitwasasoftOctobernight,
Curledonceaboutthehouse,andfellasleep.
Andindeedtherewillbetime
Fortheyellowsmokethatslidesalongthestreet,
Rubbingitsbackuponthewindowpanes
Therewillbetime,therewillbetime
Toprepareafacetomeetthefacesthatyoumeet
Therewillbetimetomurderandcreate,
Andtimeforalltheworksanddaysofhands
Thatliftanddropaquestiononyourplate
Timeforyouandtimeforme,
Andtimeyetforahundredindecisions,
Andforahundredvisionsandrevisions,
Beforethetakingofatoastandtea.
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2/18/2015

TheLoveSongofJ.AlfredPrufrockbyT.S.Eliot:PoetryMagazine

Intheroomthewomencomeandgo
TalkingofMichelangelo.
Andindeedtherewillbetime
Towonder,DoIdare?and,DoIdare?
Timetoturnbackanddescendthestair,
Withabaldspotinthemiddleofmyhair
(Theywillsay:Howhishairisgrowingthin!)
Mymorningcoat,mycollarmountingfirmlytothechin,
Mynecktierichandmodest,butassertedbyasimplepin
(Theywillsay:Buthowhisarmsandlegsarethin!)
DoIdare
Disturbtheuniverse?
Inaminutethereistime
Fordecisionsandrevisionswhichaminutewillreverse.
ForIhaveknownthemallalready,knownthemall:
Haveknowntheevenings,mornings,afternoons,
Ihavemeasuredoutmylifewithcoffeespoons
Iknowthevoicesdyingwithadyingfall
Beneaththemusicfromafartherroom.
SohowshouldIpresume?
AndIhaveknowntheeyesalready,knownthemall
Theeyesthatfixyouinaformulatedphrase,
AndwhenIamformulated,sprawlingonapin,
WhenIampinnedandwrigglingonthewall,
ThenhowshouldIbegin
Tospitoutallthebuttendsofmydaysandways?
AndhowshouldIpresume?
AndIhaveknownthearmsalready,knownthemall
Armsthatarebraceletedandwhiteandbare
(Butinthelamplight,downedwithlightbrownhair!)
Isitperfumefromadress
Thatmakesmesodigress?
Armsthatliealongatable,orwrapaboutashawl.
AndshouldIthenpresume?
AndhowshouldIbegin?
ShallIsay,Ihavegoneatduskthroughnarrowstreets
Andwatchedthesmokethatrisesfromthepipes
Oflonelymeninshirtsleeves,leaningoutofwindows?...
Ishouldhavebeenapairofraggedclaws
Scuttlingacrossthefloorsofsilentseas.
Andtheafternoon,theevening,sleepssopeacefully!
Smoothedbylongfingers,
Asleep...tired...oritmalingers,
Stretchedonthefloor,herebesideyouandme.
ShouldI,afterteaandcakesandices,
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2/18/2015

TheLoveSongofJ.AlfredPrufrockbyT.S.Eliot:PoetryMagazine

Havethestrengthtoforcethemomenttoitscrisis?
ButthoughIhaveweptandfasted,weptandprayed,
ThoughIhaveseenmyhead(grownslightlybald)broughtinuponaplatter,
Iamnoprophetandheresnogreatmatter
Ihaveseenthemomentofmygreatnessflicker,
AndIhaveseentheeternalFootmanholdmycoat,andsnicker,
Andinshort,Iwasafraid.
Andwouldithavebeenworthit,afterall,
Afterthecups,themarmalade,thetea,
Amongtheporcelain,amongsometalkofyouandme,
Wouldithavebeenworthwhile,
Tohavebittenoffthematterwithasmile,
Tohavesqueezedtheuniverseintoaball
Torollittowardssomeoverwhelmingquestion,
Tosay:IamLazarus,comefromthedead,
Comebacktotellyouall,Ishalltellyouall
Ifone,settlingapillowbyherhead
Shouldsay:ThatisnotwhatImeantatall
Thatisnotit,atall.
Andwouldithavebeenworthit,afterall,
Wouldithavebeenworthwhile,
Afterthesunsetsandthedooryardsandthesprinkledstreets,
Afterthenovels,aftertheteacups,aftertheskirtsthattrailalongthefloor
Andthis,andsomuchmore?
ItisimpossibletosayjustwhatImean!
Butasifamagiclanternthrewthenervesinpatternsonascreen:
Wouldithavebeenworthwhile
Ifone,settlingapilloworthrowingoffashawl,
Andturningtowardthewindow,shouldsay:
Thatisnotitatall,
ThatisnotwhatImeant,atall.
No!IamnotPrinceHamlet,norwasmeanttobe
Amanattendantlord,onethatwilldo
Toswellaprogress,startasceneortwo,
Advisetheprincenodoubt,aneasytool,
Deferential,gladtobeofuse,
Politic,cautious,andmeticulous
Fullofhighsentence,butabitobtuse
Attimes,indeed,almostridiculous
Almost,attimes,theFool.
Igrowold...Igrowold...
Ishallwearthebottomsofmytrousersrolled.
ShallIpartmyhairbehind?DoIdaretoeatapeach?
Ishallwearwhiteflanneltrousers,andwalkuponthebeach.
Ihaveheardthemermaidssinging,eachtoeach.
Idonotthinkthattheywillsingtome.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/173476

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2/18/2015

TheLoveSongofJ.AlfredPrufrockbyT.S.Eliot:PoetryMagazine

Ihaveseenthemridingseawardonthewaves
Combingthewhitehairofthewavesblownback
Whenthewindblowsthewaterwhiteandblack.
Wehavelingeredinthechambersofthesea
Byseagirlswreathedwithseaweedredandbrown
Tillhumanvoiceswakeus,andwedrown.

Source:Poetry(June1915).

MOREFROMTHISISSUE
ThispoemoriginallyappearedintheJune1915issueofPoetrymagazine

Noon
BYBLISSCARMAN

Correspondence:ARejoinder
BYEZRAPOUND

AfterVespers
BYAJANSYRIAN

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/173476

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