Friday, February 20th, 2004
My good friend Rina asks about the meaning of Prufrock:
“I get the impression it is about growing old? The reflections of an old man?”
I grow old . . .I grow old . . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
This is a partial answer, the rest is somewhere in the poem. It has to do with mermaids and love.
But here’s another issue, one that extends the last two posts: the poem is the meaning. How does one paraphrase the guitar work of Lara y Reyes? Neither Lorca, Eliot, or Williams declair meaning. They merely write the image, the narrative, or the series of stanzas and the audience is left to wonder and respond. But what is a response? How does one respond to Thomas Mann’s Aschenbach in Death in Venice or this from Jimmy Santiago Baca, from Work We Hate and Dreams We Love:
. . .
Life is filled with work
and while he saws, 2X4’s,
trims lengths of 2X10’s on table saw,
inside his veins another world
in full color etches
a blue sky on his bones,
a man following a bison herd,
and suddenly his hammer becomes a spear
he tosses to the ground
uttering a sound we do not understand.