[Milton-L] "Particular Falls"

Matthew Jordan matthewjorda at gmail.com
Tue Jan 20 19:10:19 EST 2015


John: is your implication something like - "if there is such a god as the
one they imagine / have dreamt up, it's one we should pity"?

Again, stating the obv.: "bleakest" a (the?) crucial word...

On 20 January 2015 at 23:55, Matthew Jordan <matthewjorda at gmail.com> wrote:

> Which then suggests God as inconsolable parent...
>
> On 20 January 2015 at 23:53, Matthew Jordan <matthewjorda at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>> I'm also thinking of the famous Herbert poems which stage divine
>> intercession...
>>
>> On 20 January 2015 at 23:44, Matthew Jordan <matthewjorda at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Ie. there are falls which are part of a larger movement or harmony, and
>>> falls which, er, aren't...there is pattern or order to the late falls,
>>> here, but it's static - or at least not, aha, regenerative...or summat...
>>>
>>> On 20 January 2015 at 23:41, Matthew Jordan <matthewjorda at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> 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
>>>>>>>>>>> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu <Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu> <
>>>>>>>>>>> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu <Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu>>
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>>>>>>>>>>> http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>> Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>>>> 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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>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>
>
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