When I saw that this week’s Penable poetry competition had the theme of “galaxy,” my first thought was of the poem “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot.
The original “Prufrock” begins with the lines “Let us go then, you and I,/When the evening is spread out against the sky/Like a patient etherized upon a table.” If you want to read that entire poem, you can find it here.
My poem isn’t meant to be a response to “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.” My poem is simply what I thought about while I reread that poem and reflected on galaxies.
Galaxies, Or Regarding Poor Prufrock
In a lush field upon our backs we lie
with our palms spread out flat against the sky,
like a perfect frame for the gleaming stars.
Around us we hear the swift-moving cars,
racing to their destinations, but ours
is simply here under the summer heat,
For we don’t want to roam the busy streets,
we desire to just wait in peace and meet
constellations, greeting them one by one.
Soon, though, even without illumination from the sun,
our gentle quietude becomes undone,
reminded of life’s chaos by the overwhelming vastness of space.
A disheartening question now we face:
Among the cosmos, what is our place?
It ravages, rages, consumes our brains
until it is the only thought that remains.
Though to the tranquil darkness, it does not pertain,
so we wonder if it needs answered at all.
The beaming starlight once more does call,
and though we may feel stuck and small,
held in by the pointillated dark sheet above,
we notice the heavens surround us with love.
That inquiry flies off like a dove
as we feel safe beneath the galaxies.
We will return to questions of mortality,
morality, reality, and unreality,
but for now, we focus on the view. How pretty!
For this moment,
we ignore memories of the city,
the hustle and bustle, the anxiety,
that simultaneous crowded, lonely curse.
Those thoughts are for another poet’s verse–
We do not dare disturb the universe.