After Prufrock and after T. S.

… But will the risk be worth the gain,
Among the cups of porcelain?

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
I’ll blend in, my morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest; I hope I will blend in.
I’ll listen, I’ll record, I’ll keep an eye. I’ll spy.
Although my breasts are slightly breasting,
The collar mounting to the chin, the necktie, should disguise.
This is where the men collect, this is where the deals are done.
Although the marmalade and tea are grand,
The bottom line is what’s at hand.
Lord So-and-so’s son can tip the wink,
And so it goes, and so they think.
But will the risk be worth the gain,
Among the cups of porcelain?
© Susan Walton 2017
This poem was written on a course at Tŷ Newydd that covered a range of ways in which existing works of art can give rise to new poems. This poem incorporates snippets of ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’. The course attendees were given different snippets at random by the tutors. You can hear ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ being read in its entirety by its author, T. S. Eliot (1888–1965), here. It was intriguing find the Eliot rhythms and patterns persisted through something I’d made up on the spot.

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