Prufrock, Dante, and me

ENTRY # 67

S`io credesse che mia risposta fosse A persona che mai tornasse al mondo, Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse. Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo Non torno vivo alcun, siodo il vero, Senza tema dinfamia ti rispondo.

Translation of epigraph:

“If I thought that my reply would be to someone who would ever return to earth, this flame would remain without further movement; but as no one has ever returned alive from this gulf, if what I hear is true, I can answer you with no fear of infamy.”

So begins, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock In the context of the poem, Prufrock thinks about opportunities lost. An old man, unable to talk to mermaids. They are the domain of fantasy and meant for those who took chances and indulged in fantasy. Prufrock can say these things, years later, in the same way Guido in Dantes inferno can tell Dante, because he believes he is safe in confiding to this stranger his tale. (Imagine, Dante ever being able to rejoin the living?) But Dante did tell his tale, after his tour of all the chasms of hell, and heaven. As did Prufrock – to us. I was cautioned about writing about too personal things. You, Dante, will I meet you in this world? Possibly. I guess most visitors here are my friends, those who know me, even peripherally. There is no harm in admitting my humanity, my age, my occassional vulnerability. In fact, there are advantages to showing the other side of machismo…makes for a real person. At the very least, it makes good fodder for writing words. (Those I do not know, and have stumbled here by accident, enticed by words, are welcome. Take what you may, leave a little behind, but do be polite). Poems, love songs…the best bring us together. They paint scenarios in our mind with clarity. Is the goal to broadcast sadness, hate, desire? More so, the goal – my goal – is to paint the picture that you can see, and tie it to the experience you have in yourself. If the passage resonates, and you think, “Yeah, I know that feeling.” Then we are less alone. Eventually, the feeling passes. But the words conjure the memory. And they are no longer my memory alone.

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