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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

This is not the poem. I chose a part that speaks to me deeply. I tend to be a bit of rebel. I know it hard to believe, but I am always willing, when others are not, to shake up the things as they are. T. S. Eliot said it so well: “Do I dare/Disturb the universe?” I find comfort some days in the power of that question. What in my universe needs to be disturbed? Even as I grow older, what does wisdom call on me to do that ruffles my feathers and those around me?

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…

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.

About ivonprefontaine

I have been an educator for almost 20 years. Prior to that, I worked in private industry for 15 years, then returned to university to earn my education degree. For the past 11 years, I have been a co-creator of learning in a unique, progressive, alternative educational school of choice. Currently, I am engaged in a doctoral program at Gonzaga University in Spokane. A main theme in my learning there has been the roles of systems thinking, complexity theory, and organizational theory, and how they apply to education generally and the learning environment I share with students, parents, and colleagues.

14 responses »

  1. Taking that out of context negates the poem. It’s whole point is that modern man cannot make the decision.>KB

    Reply
  2. Beautiful. I’ve always enjoyed the opening lines, “Let us go then you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky…”

    Ivon, have you noticed that WP has a new theme, “Chalk Board?” … You might like it …

    Reply
  3. “Do I dare? Do I dare?” The question is appropriately raised twice, because I think it is one that bears repeating. Somehow it feels like it is posed as one is already in motion, propelling one as the hum of a motor. And the universe smiles every time you stir the air with your actions Ivon..

    Reply
  4. What great imagery and fragile emotions in this piece. Thank you Ivon, your posts are always so inspiring.

    Reply
  5. I’m a shaker-upper, too. My knees may be knocking as I dare, but I still dare–even if it’s to dare myself to dare. Rock on, Ivon. Cheers

    Reply
    • There is nothing wrong with a little knee knocking. Some of the best moments in life are defined by the knee knocking. I recall standing waiting for Kathy as she walked up the aisle. I was shaking, but when we met at the altar that was over.

      Reply
  6. As i get older I think it is wonderful to always shake things up a bit, I do not need the boring and mundane, i need to feel the exciting feeling of my heart beating faster, of my spirit flying, i need to feel that i still can help perfect a type of change in someones life, even if it is small, for life is about creating and recreating oneself within every new day we are allowed to experience and live. Wonderful post my brother…change only makes us better so never fear to dare to do and always to step out of the box…it shall be an exciting experience always!

    Reply
    • For the most part, I think we have a sedentary period in the middle of our lives where this is hard to do. When we are young and as we get older, it is different. First, it is about learning and, then, as I watch my mother I see the need to say what we feel from the heart.

      Take care Wendell.

      Reply

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