[Milton-L] "Particular Falls"

Hannibal Hamlin hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
Tue Jan 20 15:28:15 EST 2015


Interesting questions, and I agree the last sentence is a jolt -- in a good
way. Impossible to pin down, of course, but pity their god because he has
lost those angels? because he had to put up with such an affront? because
he had to banish those angels? ("this hurts me as much as it hurts you")
because (thinking of Milton) of all that happened as a consequence of their
fall? (including, perhaps, the necessity of Christ's sacrifice)

Hannibal



On Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 3:14 PM, Stella Revard <srevard at siue.edu> wrote:

> Okay, the real challenge of the poem is its last three words, in which I
> assume Rogers shocks us with what seems a request to her readers (us) to
> have pity on "their" god, and I assume the antecedent of "their" is the
> fallen angels.  (A possible alternative reading might take "pity" as a
> noun....)  What do you expert readers of poetry think is her point in those
> last three words, which seem to bring the whole poem to such a (to me)
> surprising completion?  Why pity, and why pity for "their god," not for the
> fallen beings in their hopeless eternal torment?  And would a good answer
> here bring out even more strongly the "Miltonic" dimensions of the poem?
> Maybe useful questions for MLK Day.
>
> With best wishes,
> Carter
>
> On 01/20/15, *Matthew Jordan * <matthewjorda at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> It may be almost too obvious to say, but the "Not...not..." thing (and
> "nec...nec"?) is typically Miltonic / epic...
>
> On 20 January 2015 at 16:15, Matthew Jordan <matthewjorda at gmail.com <
> matthewjorda at gmail.com>> wrote:
>
>> Good stuff! Thanks.
>>
>> As a comparison / contrast, my recollection is that in eg. Augustine,
>> rather gruesomely (morbidly??), one of the pleasures of the saved is
>> precisely their good view of the suffering of the damned . . . (?)
>>
>> Best, Matt
>>
>> On 20 January 2015 at 16:06, Stella Revard <srevard at siue.edu <
>> srevard at siue.edu>> wrote:
>>
>>> Thanks, Nancy, for sending on the poem by Pattiann Rogers.  She is one
>>> of the best poets now writing in the US, but has not been given her due by
>>> the cliquers and claquers of the Award Giving dumbasses.  And the Georgia
>>> Review prints a lot of veryt fine work. Nice to know you are reading it
>>> well.
>>>
>>>
>>> On 01/20/15, *Hannibal Hamlin * <hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com <
>>> hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>>
>>> Thanks. The use of enjambment (all that carefully positioned falling)
>>> also seems somewhat Miltonic.
>>>
>>> Hannibal
>>>
>>>
>>> On Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 2:36 AM, Nancy Charlton <
>>> charltonwordorder1 at gmail.com <charltonwordorder1 at gmail.com> <
>>> charltonwordorder1 at gmail.com <charltonwordorder1 at gmail.com>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> I felt that you all would enjoy this poem. Since I couldn't get Poetry
>>>> Daily to send it from their form, I'll take my chances with the copyright
>>>> police and simply copy it into this email.
>>>>
>>>> The last stanza (?) is particularly Miltonic.
>>>>
>>>> Nancy Charlton
>>>>
>>>> Particular Falls
>>>>
>>>> Not as three strands of braided hair,
>>>> being loosened, fall then together in waves
>>>> to touch the shoulders; and not as a white-
>>>> winged hawk releases and falls sinking
>>>> on the wind until its wings swerve upward
>>>> riding the current again toward the sun.
>>>>
>>>> Not the freefall that comes before
>>>> the parachute spreads and opens above
>>>> like a prayer and halts the plunge;
>>>> and not the tumbling fall of an acrobat
>>>> before he catches the trapeze his partner
>>>> drops as she falls to catch his feet.
>>>> Not any of those falls.
>>>>
>>>> And not the continual plummeting
>>>> fall of mountain snowmelt creating icy
>>>> weather in summer; nor the spider gliding
>>>> down her string, floating more than falling
>>>> in descent just as day falls and drifts
>>>> in its own ways into night; and not as one falls
>>>> with eyes closed into sleep where faith
>>>> is with the falling; nor as one falls
>>>> into love where riotous ascent begins
>>>> simultaneous with the falling.
>>>>
>>>> But consider the falling that is immutable:
>>>> the naked body of a nestling lying spilled
>>>> and broken on the sidewalk; wind-felled fruit,
>>>> sick odor of rotting pulp below the tree, slick
>>>> mass oozing into earth; the cold, frightening
>>>> stillness of those who lie fallen in battle.
>>>>
>>>> And remember the story of the bleakest
>>>> fall, the fall of those who once were angels,
>>>> who fell and fell into the deepest chasm
>>>> of blindness, irredeemable, never to rise,
>>>> never to hope to rise. Pity their god.
>>>>
>>>> PATTIANN ROGERS <http://poems.com/feature.php?date=16455>
>>>>
>>>> The Georgia Review <http://garev.uga.edu/>
>>>> Winter 2014
>>>>
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>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>> Hannibal Hamlin
>>> Professor of English
>>> The Ohio State University
>>> Author of *The Bible in Shakespeare*, now available through all good
>>> bookshops, or direct from Oxford University Press at
>>> http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199677610.do
>>> Editor, *Reformation*
>>> 164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall
>>> Columbus, OH 43210-1340
>>> hamlin.22 at osu.edu/
>>> hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com <hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com> <
>>> hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com <hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com>>
>>>
>>>
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>>
>>
>
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-- 
Hannibal Hamlin
Professor of English
The Ohio State University
Author of *The Bible in Shakespeare*, now available through all good
bookshops, or direct from Oxford University Press at
http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199677610.do
Editor, *Reformation*
164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall
Columbus, OH 43210-1340
hamlin.22 at osu.edu/
hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
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