Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

i have measured out my life with coffee spoons

I dreamed last night that I was reciting The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock to a group of newspaper writers. They were supposed to interpret the meaning of the poem and write about it in their newspapers. The poem meant something different to each one of them, and I was frustrated because not one of their interpretations had anything at all to do with the poem itself, but with whatever the writer’s opinion was on some issue he/she was already covering in their paper.

Eventually the writers all started whispering:

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo

over and over like a mantra, until I couldn’t take it anymore. I told them that while it was nice they memorized those lines in high school and could still repeat them, the real heart of the poem was in the lines

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

Though I did not recite all of that in the dream out loud, I assume, as I had to go look up the last two lines to that stanza just now.

I know where part of this dream came from.

Last night during the Emmy Awards, Steve Martin presented Tommy Smothers with a 40 year overdue Emmy for his work on the Smothers Brothers show. Pretty nice, right?

Smothers came up on the stage to accept his award and I waited for a poignant, if funny, speech in which Smothers would be grateful for finally getting the Emmy he deserved.

Instead, he launched into a political diatribe.

It doesn’t matter to me what that diatribe was about or whether or not I agree with him. What matters is that was really such an inappropriate time and place for him to say what he did. Yes, I know the point of the whole thing was that he didn’t receive an Emmy 40 years ago because he was so outspoken and I guess he was proving a point now. It seemed like he was saying “fuck you” when he should have been saying “thank you.”

I just don’t like random politics in my entertainment, whether I agree with whatever celebrity is spouting off his innermost thoughts or not. And while I’m sure Smothers is getting a slew of virtual high fives today all over the internet, I’m writing him off as just another self-absorbed entertainer who thinks the world is his very own stage.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock.

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is that a poem in your pocket?

poem in my pocket

Thank you to Dani for reminding me that April is National Poetry Month and today, New York City marks the 6th annual Poem in Your Pocket Day in honor of that.

It didn’t take me long to pick the poem I would carry around today. Perhaps this is a bit of a cliched pick, but this poem has always meant a lot to me and I’ve repeated the last stanza – especially the last two lines – to myself many times when I was feeling beaten down. I used to recite these words with the hope that I could make myself believe them about myself. Now I can read this poem with conviction. I don’t know that I will read it aloud to anyone during the day, though I do have tentative plans to escape the office at lunchtime and drive to the local park for some picture taking. I can almost imagine myself standing in the middle of the park, on a soapbox, reciting this poem in dramatic fashion.

Hah, not really. Maybe I’ll just make copies and pass them out to people who look like they would appreciate it.

What poem will you carry in your pocket today?

by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

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