Prufrock’s Pervigilium lyrics

T.S. Eliot

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow
streets  
And seen the smoke which rises from the pipes  
Of lonely men in shirtsleeves, leaning out of
windows.  
And when the evening woke and stared into its blindness
I heard the children whimpering in corners 
Where women took the air, standing in entries—
Women, spilling out of corsets, stood in entries
Where the draughty gas-jet flickered
And the oil cloth curled up stairs.

And when the evening fought itself awake
And the world was peeling oranges and reading evening
papers
And boys were smoking cigarettes, drifted helplessly
together
In the fan of light spread out by the drugstore on the
corner
Then I have gone at night through narrow streets,  
 Where evil houses leaning all together 
Pointed a ribald finger at me in the darkness
Whispering all together, chuckled at me in the dark-
ness.

And when the midnight turned and writhed in fever
I tossed the blankets back, to watch the darkness
Crawling among the papers on the table 
It leapt to the floor and made a sudden hiss
And darted stealthily across the wall
Flattened itself upon the ceiling overhead
Stretched out its tentacles, prepared to leap

And when the dawn at length had realized itself  
And turned with a sense of nausea, to see what it had
stirred:
The eyes and feet of men—
I fumbled to the window to experience the world
And to hear my
Madness singing, sitting on the kerbstone
[A blind old drunken man who sings and mutters,
With broken boot heels stained in many gutters]
And as he sang the world began to fall apart . . .  

I should have been a pair of ragged claws  
Scuttling across the floors of silent
seas . . . 

—I have seen the darkness creep along the wall 
I have heard my Madness chatter before day
I have seen the world roll up into a ball
Then suddenly dissolve and fall away.

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