[Milton-L] "Particular Falls"

john rumrich rumrichj at gmail.com
Tue Jan 20 16:26:14 EST 2015


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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