Tuesday, April 5, 2016

npm pmmu #5: ways to live



      This month I'm posting daily Poetry-Music Match-Ups, and you're invited to join me! (See the bottom of the post for ideas.)  When I don't have a crowd-sourced combo scheduled, I'll share one of my own many, many PMMUs!  If something comes to your mind, send it to me HERE.

The suggestions have begun to roll in and I'm getting them lined up as fast as I can.  Today's match-up is a great one, from a friend at my congregation, Petrina.  She writes that she is struck by "The contrast between the two, one a song about embracing life to the fullest, "With every broken bone, I lived," and the other a lament of an unhappy man who led his life afraid to dare."

 "I Lived" by One Republic, 2013
posted to YouTube by Stenaven


 The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock || T.S. Eliot

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma percioche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.
Let us go then, you and I, 
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.


In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.


The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.


And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.


In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.


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.


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?


And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
               And how should I presume?


And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
               And should I then presume?
               And how should I begin?


Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? ...


I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.


And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.
***************************
The rest of this classic is here at the wonderful Poetry Foundation website.  Did you know that you can download the Poetry Foundation app for your phone and "spin" like on a slot machine to get a new poem?  I just did and got a poem on the themes of humor & aging.  Ha.

Thank you, Petrina, for your suggestion, and for bringing to my attention the fact that somehow I HAVE NEVER READ this classic in its entirety!  Now I have.  Don't you want to suggest a match-up?

*Ways to match-up poetry and music--take your pick!

·      your own poem with music that you've realized goes with it,

·      your own music with a poem that goes with it,

·      someone else's poem with someone else's music to match, 

·      song lyrics that you find particularly poetic,

·      poems written AS song lyrics

·      poems inspired by songs,

·      songs written about poems, 

·      poems written about songs, 

·      favorite nursery rhymes (which often have tunes),

·      and any other poetry-music combinations that make sense to you.

1 comment:

  1. Prufrock reminds me of college, when I was a woman coming and going talking of Michelangelo. I remember reading this in my poetry class with the words of Sylvia Plath and Adrienne Rich entwining with Frost and Williams. That is a time of confusion, choices myriad, worrying about nuclear winter and wondering if I would have a family one day. I am more in line with the song. I did it all, lived every day, with every broken and torn tendon. Wonderful food for thought these are. "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons."

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