[Milton-L] An intriguing Milton allusion

Nancy Charlton charltonwordorder1 at gmail.com
Mon Sep 30 13:50:46 EDT 2013


On Poetry Daily today appears "The Mind after Everything Has Happened" by
Rowan Ricardo Phillips, published in the current Paris Review. PD requests
that their daily offerings be reproduced in their entirety, boilerplate and
all, hence the link instead of reproducing this splendid poems in toto.

The poet is speaking of vacuity, nothingness, a world stripped bare -- a
distant kin to the Lamentations, and as an example comes this line:

A two-handed engine
Of aerosols hissing Thou Shalt Not Pass
On fiery ground.

Opinions have raged for years as to just Milton meant by the "two-handed
and  Phillips' "aerosols hissing Thou Shalt Not Pass" might be a real clue.
Not the
aerosols, obviously, but perhaps asillusional or delusional airy substances.

And might the concluding lines, asking if "hell is a crater to a crater...
What then is Heaven?" be read as a gloss onSatan's despair?

Nancy Charlton
Last week's hot weather was saying
"Apres moi, le deluge" -- and with a vengeance!
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