[Milton-L] "Particular Falls"

Matthew Jordan matthewjorda at gmail.com
Tue Jan 20 15:36:53 EST 2015


Just very quickly (for now): the notion I had in mind was a kind of step
beyond Empson's view of Milton's God - that He's a horror, but horrors are
also pitiable and pitiful...I haven't thought through the rest of the poem
in light of that possibility...yet...



On 20 January 2015 at 20:14, 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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