[Milton-L] "Particular Falls"

Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Tue Jan 20 19:37:24 EST 2015


Moreso among humans . . . as JM learned, and we are still learning.  The gods tend to be more impersonal about it.


From: Salwa Khoddam 
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2015 7:22 PM
To: 'John Milton Discussion List' 
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] "Particular Falls"


Betrayal is hard to endure among humans and gods.

Salwa

 

Salwa Khoddam PhD

Professor of English Emerita

Oklahoma City University

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Email: skhoddam at cox.net

Author of Mythopoeic Narnia: Memory, Metaphor,

and Metamorphoses in C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles

of Narnia

 

From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of john rumrich
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2015 3:44 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] "Particular Falls"

 

 

 

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

                The Georgia Review 
                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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