poor prufrock

Well, we are nicely engaged in the poetry unit in class, and it’s something that is always painful….oh so painful. I wish I could shake every teacher who ever stood up in a Language Arts class and broke poetry for young students. By the time I get these adults, all they know is that they hate poetry, or that the only good poetry rhymes and looks like a sonnet. And yet, these are the same people who walk in with their ipods blasting music into their heads. Because they don’t know music is poetry. So I start with this music video:

They seem to respond well. I know I love it — not just the song but the whole visual juxtaposition of opposites, reflections, black and white. Simply beautiful. (as an aside, I wonder if I could slip a little theology of the body in there, covert-like).

Anyway, as way leads on to way, we will somehow end up with good ole J. Alfred Prufrock and his elusive love song. Ha! This one is for you, Danny:

I grow old … I grow old … 120
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

The truth is this poem is actually pretty meaningful to me — as a twenty-year-old it shook me up enough to have me dare to follow literature … and shortly after that I changed my major. In the 27 years since, I have taught the poem on and off.  There’s some wisdom in the advice from lit profs to never teach anything that is close to one’s heart, but every once in a while I dust off Prufrock and subject him to the abuse of my classes. It’s not for them, it’s for me…a selfish moment? Nah, I prefer to call it survival. I teach poetry for myself. It amazes me that they embrace it.

So without further ado, the lines that impacted me:

Do I dare

Disturb the universe?


Yes I do.