[Milton-L] "Particular Falls"

Matthew Jordan matthewjorda at gmail.com
Tue Jan 20 18:41:39 EST 2015


Sometimes particular verbal cruces get me going, sometimes more nebulous
notions.

I'm starting vague, here: Fortunate Fall (obv.), plus something I think I
once read in Michael McKeon, tho I can hardly believe he was the first:
that the idea of "poetic justice" takes hold in a world that no longer
believes in the other kind...

Please bear in mind it's rather later, here; at least for me...

On 20 January 2015 at 21:44, john rumrich <rumrich at austin.utexas.edu> wrote:

>
>
> 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
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>> Milton-L mailing list
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>>>>>>> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu <Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu>>
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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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