ShareThis Page
Possibly well-read vandals caught on video |

Possibly well-read vandals caught on video

Two graffiti vandals misquoted T.S. Eliot when they spray-painted lines from one of his poems on an exterior wall of the Carnegie Library in Oakland.

A staff member found the graffiti Monday morning, library spokeswoman Suzanne Thinnes said. A library surveillance tape shows two white males who appear to be in their 20s spray-painting the building around 2:30 a.m., she said.

The vandals painted the phrase “I wish I were a pair of ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas” and attributed it to J. Alfred Prufrock.

Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” contains a similar line, which begins: “I should have been a pair of ragged claws … .”

A nearby painted message said: “This is not a good way to handle my problems.” Another, “For freedom — enter here,” was spray-painted on the library’s front steps.

Thinnes called the graffiti “unusual.”

“I don’t know if it was a message or a prank,” she said. “It was an expensive prank.”

Library custodians managed to remove the graffiti from the front steps, but a contractor will have to power-wash the words from the walls, Thinnes said. She didn’t know how much that would cost.

“It’s disheartening that someone would target the library for graffiti, whether it’s for a literary reference or not,” Thinnes said. “By doing this, they actually took away services that are meant for customers.”

The Carnegie Museum of Art, next door to the library, is featuring the work of a former graffiti artist as part of an exhibition called “Life on Mars.”

Barry McGee’s installation features sculptures of males using spray-paint cans to draw on walls, along with acrylic paintings and drawings by McGee, museum spokeswoman Tey Stiteler said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.