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Preludes – T. S. Eliot

Preludes – T. S. Eliot

The poem that I have chosen to respond to is Preludes, which can be found in T. S. Eliot’s Prufrock and Other Observations on pages 12-13. The poem has elements which are common in Eliot’s works: the use of some kind of rhyme scheme, which is somewhat unusual for modernist poetry, as well as abundant imagery which is lyrical and emotionally profound, though it describes the tedium of everyday middle-class life. What I like about Eliot’s poetry is that even though he is heavy-handed with intertextual allusions, and I’m sure they’re present in Preludes as well, one can appreciate his poetry without any of the necessary background knowledge because of how adeptly he crafts his imagery and produces pathos. Some of the most compelling lines in this poem to me were “And the light crept up between the shutters / And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,” and “His soul stretched tight across the skies / That fade behind a city block.” The first to me conveys a sense of menace and despair about the things that we try to push away and hide, while the second speaks of the expansiveness of a man’s longing for something more, but he can’t overcome his own emotional distance and ennui.