I’ve been carrying the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock in my purse for weeks and it’s still there even though I have moved on to another book. I have thought about this poem almost every day since I chose T.S. Eliot from my list for a Modernist March. But every time I have seriously attempted to read or listen to the poem, I freeze-up. Mostly I think because poetry completely intimidates me.
“How’s it going with the poetry?” asked my friend.
“Um … good.”
“Why do you say it like that?”
“What do you like about it?
“Um, it rhymes.”
“Well, that’s good. You should write about that on your blog.”
“I can’t write that I like a nobel prize-winning author’s poem because it rhymes!”
“Why not? At least, you’re being honest.”
Silence from me, then: “Will you read the poem out loud to me?”
“For the last time, NO!”
I also had a sense of urgency about Prufrock, as if I had to make an important decision about it. Was it about death and growing old? Was it about a love lost and long gone? I read some background information on the poem, but didn’t feel satisfied. I put off writing about the poem again and again, and then before I knew it March was over and Anne of Green Gables was waiting for me.
When I finish a book, it feels good. It feels like I have closure with the story, with the characters. Absolutely not the case with Prufrock. I’ll come back to Prufrock and poetry one day, and try again. I promise Mr. Eliot, I won’t give up.
Do you have a memorable book or a poem that you started, gave up and then finished at a later time?