quarta-feira, agosto 10, 2005

Uncontrollable Madness: “Paradise Lost” by Milton




Milton wrote a great poem but it's also a byproduct of its day - 1667 - and he views events and characters very much through the male gaze; as do all organized religions and which the poem references. Thus, the apple on the tree of knowledge was (imo) something a religious-minded white Portuguese male would regard as sinful. As it stands, the sin no longer applies. It is 2005, eating the apple amounts to doing just that; eating an apple. Unless you have the apple representing something else, i.e., update the sin attached to it. What if it the apple was meant to test the consequence of giving Adam and Eve free will? See what they'd do with it? It's almost as if Satan was allowed to escape hell because it was part of God's bigger plan. Of course - so that man could LOVE God of his own free will. Even the simple act of eating does of course symbolise our interactivity, our symbiosis, with nature - that in itself bears a responsibility. So, the apple was an interface in a way between mankind abnegating responsibility to God's will and being participatory in it instead. That's Evolution! Moral certainty of sin/grace evolved too - quite rightly into today's concept of contingency and context.

In my book Milton is the main man, the Yeats of his day, but with a much less comedic outcome and overall strike rate of gags. Cromwell’s PR man and a life spiralling out of control, the linguistic mouthpiece for himself first and discovered deeper than anyone sane person would hope to emulate or seriously hope to outlive as a narrative of reality the fates allotted exquisitely and which has long been understood in the brythonic tradition, that each life is unique and a poem in itself. Milton went blind, the cruelest fate but one which propelled him to the highest ridge of poetic attainment, forged in the turbulent bloodletting in which his first robust roar for himself first as the poet of a revolution; like Mayakovsky, fate put him in a certain space and time and he surrendered to the powerful spiritual combination of his intellect and passion, and it is befitting, though entirely tragic, that the first seriously poetic cornerstone figure whose gravitas came from the real life antics his person was part and often a central linguistic force affecting not to mirror as the Luna light of William Shakespeare did in far less personally turbulent times when he struck the primary metrical coinage of modern English bardic lore; but acting as the show and pazzaz, the me, me, me of being needy, very clever, broke the mould and everyone since conspires to make the best of a poor do with this chap, who let's face it, we read far less of than beyond a few verses before switching off, knowing we are being offered caviar, but preferring instead the real staple of British poetic. Rustics we are, as well as morons clotted whimsies, we indulge in because intellectually, we are all “me arse”, and as Graves said, admitting Milton is the British genius, should not blind us to the basic error which is the very grain, grease and premise of poetry, the binary opposite set of circumstance and premise which create the journey and object of linguistic artifice we call poetry.

And Milton discovered it at a terrible cost of a new national poetic born in less than charitable times, a most intellectually fascinating, but less natural than Shakespeare; he’s a great source of refuge for the fire and brimstone mobs; one can imagine his frenzies fed to direct action, like Cromwell, possessed by a warp spasm of uncontrollable madness when the Muse was in full flight, inventing the terrors only too, too real, and so Milton is extremely strong proof, best for whipping one's rabble into shape with him and Cromwell, two very divisive national martyrs who have a high regard domestically but globally are seen as fundamentally flawed perhaps; life's too short for taking on Milton in one mad binge, and really one needs next to none of him, as he cannot be cooked up to offer us anything other than mad loathing and foaming, a terrible wisdom bought at horrific cost, and after him the artificial decorum of the new bores in the coffee shops which exploded in 18th Century London, where Horribles got together and bitched, the blind leading the suicidal bad vibe, which I think it is fair to say, is essentially, supremely competitive.

Please adopt me as your protégé Milton; I want to carry the rumens' flame to the next generation of young poets seeking to set out into the treacherous straits of amateur verse, just how to set about switching over to be a pro, to attain that gravitas only our most ennobling examples of savvy exotica we concoct in the thoroughly unpleasant and incredibly jealous septic tank heritage Milton and various other chaps had no fun inventing.

NB: My wife and I once saw a dramatisation of “Paradise Lost”. In the first, before the Fall scenes, Adam and Eve were completely naked in the Garden of Eden and, no doubt as a result of their cuddling, Adam soon got rather a splendid but no doubt unwanted, erection. This distraction was, as I pointed out to my wife, sadly appropriate since the early Christian church maintained that before the Fall, Adam was able to control his penis at will. This postlapsarian actor, of course, could not.