I do, I do. I love The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. I've never analyzed it (either the poem or my love for it). I've never written a paper on it. I don't particularly care about the layers of hidden meaning or the allusions to other works of literature. I just like the way the words sound, the way it makes me feel, the certain phrases (I have measured out my life in coffee spoons). This is the source of the poetry I embroidered on my jeans (I have heard the mermaids singing).
I think I love it so because I came to it at around the same age Eliot wrote it. The voice in the poem seems that of an older man, and I was surprised to learn recently that Eliot was in his early 20s when he wrote it, but when I thought about it, it made sense to me. For some reason, some reason that seems irrational and illogical and probably dramatic from my nearly-40 vantage point, the early 20s are so tiring. Maybe it's just the way I did it, and the way most of my friends did it, working mind-numbing jobs none of us needed our college degrees for, because that's all we could find, going along paycheck to paycheck, wondering when would life start and had it started already and could we be doing more or was this all it was? When we were sober enough to think, that is. Inside, I probably felt like middle-aged Prufrock (I do not think that they will sing to me). At about the same time in my life, I was listening to Dave Matthews singing: Twenty-three and so tired of life...could I have been anyone other than me? (Dancing Nancies)
What is it about the early 20s?
So there you go, for the first time, I've partially analyzed my love for Prufrock. It's too long, I think, to post in its entirety here, so I've included a snippet. Follow the links to read it all for yourself.
From The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
By T. S. Eliot
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!"]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!"]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
Do I dare? Do I? Do you?