Wednesday, April 06, 2005

What a superb day. And to have gotten backyard furniture only yesterday! And to have slept late (in that it was arranged for Dara's brother to take Jonah to school this morning), and gotten to finish the last book of Paradise Lost out back in the sun on said furniture, with a fritatta. The sun breeds also ideas: I have so many I don't know which topic to start down the path with. I'm leaning towards something to do with the development of the consistently used image of the shepherd/wanderer/worker (any of a variety of peasant workers in pastoral settings, actually) in a natural setting (usually dusk--though it may get later as the poem goes on--I need to go back and check) in a perilous state of uncertain perception (the fisherman anchoring on what he thinks is an island but is really the back of a whale, or a field worker being led maybe astray by a will-o-the-wisp, for examples). The final (finale?) image is as Adam and Eve leave Eden and the angels swoop through Eden, undoing it by fire ("as Ev'ning Mist/ Ris'n from a River o're the marish glides,/ And gathers ground fast at the Labourers heel/ Homeward returning." 12.629-632); the first image where the laborers aren't solitary, and where that which is supernatural is friendly, however stern it may be. But I don't know, it seems kind of obvious, I can't imagine there aren't plenty of smarter people than I who've already done so. So maybe I'll avoid this and my other intellectually-arranged topics and just see what happens when I read this passage over and over and over:

They looking back, all th' Eastern side beheld
Of Paradise, so late their happie seat,
Wav'd over by that flaming Brand, the Gate
With dreadful Faces throng'd and Fierie Armes:

Because it just sounds so good, though it may be only simply dramatic. Honestly, I have no idea how to go about talking about this man's poetry. But I can say, having read PL four (or more) times, I think I'm starting to like it, not just admire it. It kind of grows on you. And the parts that seemed simply stupid begin to make a paradoxical sense. But only if you look at it the right way. The interested way.

And finally, today, to have written a poem that has some sonic movement to it. It feels like it's been years. It always feels that way, though, I think, doesn't it?

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