So many thoughts have been racing through my brain since this all started, it’s hard to know how to put them all down. But just as there seems to be a waterfall of thoughts rushing too fast through my mind I am also suddenly so much more attuned to the things around me – the sounds, especially.
Recently I was in the car, listening to a programme on Radio 4 about TS Eliot’s poem The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, with a beautiful reading of the poem by Jeremy Irons. Of course, like most A level English students, I was once obsessed with this poem and pored over it trying to find a meaning that no one else had discovered. My friends and I noted ruefully that our lives were also ‘measured out with coffee spoons’, imagining ourselves already so cynical, so world-weary and battle-hardened that life could bring us no surprises.
This poem has stayed with me throughout my life, and like a song you love it comes into my mind unbidden from time to time. I wanted to share a reading by TS Eliot himself, I’ve always found it interesting that his reading is emphatically not the way I hear the poem when I read it to myself – so am I reading it wrong? Or are there multiple ways of reading a poem that are totally out of the poet’s control – ie does the poem have a life of its own? I’d like to think so.