Because I’m obsessed with T.S. Eliot’s The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock, it’s something I have always wanted to imitate. Though the poem is densely layered with meaning, I think all interpretations should find some bedrock on the idea of fear, which is prevalent, if not blatant, throughout the poem, “in short, I was afraid” (87- Prufrock).
I feel I have the chance to address the idea of fear as it coincides with confession. We all want to be known, most often in our deep hurts. This takes vulnerability and often an admission of error on our part in areas of our lives that coincide with our trauma.
The most frightening thing though is not opening up, being known, but being misunderstood. Confessing to man our greatest faults bears the danger of having things held against us, of encountering imperfect judgement; in contrast to God’s judgment, which has always been final in the cross of Jesus Christ. It sounds silly to say, but humans are less forgetful than God. Similarly, they worse at remembering Calvary, the event which God remembers in his human flesh, in which he forgets our debts.
I dwell often on God’s infinite love. But his other attributes also have that same quality of endlessness that I cannot fathom. God knows me. I’ve heard that, but it is beginning to mean more than that he knows how many hairs are on my head or can hear all the hilarious jokes I make in my mind…or admittedly, my naughty thoughts. It’s beginning to mean he knows my reasons, my motives, my deepest why’s and how’s for each particular moment. How my brain and body were wired at birth through DNA, how trauma touched a certain nerve and redirected the geography of my thoughts forever. He knows what oceans they’re flowing toward, and he is prepared to throw boulders at me, and mudslides, to point me at the sea of himself. Infinite Understanding. Unednding Help. Cool.
To bring it back to fear and confession; this is my Prufrock imitation (a part) of ignoring the God of infinite Understanding.
If I Confess to Unforgiving Eyes
I have known their eyes already
known them all
aghast, all knowing, appalled
stretched and suffering their sympathy
I curl into a ball
and they hide their own treachery
at their feet I am so small
at your feet I’ve said it all
tired of telling the same story
Retreating from their pity
Back into a warmer darker room
Where it’s better to hide
than fight for life
In their shadow of flinching light
I welcome your thoughts!
November 27, 2012
If I Confess to Unforgiving Eyes: Imitating Eliot