[Milton-L] "Particular Falls"

john rumrich rumrich at austin.utexas.edu
Tue Jan 20 16:44:25 EST 2015


The last three words are intriguing metrically, too, since after the
initial trochee (Never) the line changes from two successive iambic feet
(to hope to rise) to a trochee (Pity) and then to what in the metrical
context reads to me like an ambiguous iamb with a lot of stress on "their."
 *Their* god might not be god unmodified by a possessive.

I'm not denying the Empsonian ambiguity; it strikes me as as even more
ambiguous than that, however.

{This was bounced at first; I'm now sending a slightly modified version
from my institutional address.}

On Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 3:26 PM, john rumrich <rumrichj at gmail.com> wrote:

> The last three words are intriguing metrically, too, since the line
> changes from two successive iambic feet to a trochee and then to what reads
> to me like an ambiguous iamb with a lot of stress on "their."  *Their*
> god might not be god unmodified by a possessive.
>
> I'm not denying the Empsonian ambiguity; it strikes me as as even more
> ambiguous than that, however.
>
> On Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 2:36 PM, Matthew Jordan <matthewjorda at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>> 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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>>
>>
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>
>
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