Hello, blog readers, and welcome to another week of our Pick-a-Poem series. In these weekly posts, I like to profile a new poem from someone you may not have heard of before. Hopefully these posts will broaden your poetry horizons and add a little poetry to your day. I find these posts at the ever-helpful Poetry Daily, a site that features a new poem every day. This week I’m featuring Particular Falls by Pattiann Rogers.
According to her bio page on Poetry Daily, Pattiann Rogers has published fifteen books, the most recent of which is a poetry collection entitled Holy Heathen Rhapsody (Penguin, 2013). Her poems have earned her five Pushcart Prizes as well as two appearances in Best American Poetry. She has also won two NEA grants and a Lannan Literary Award in Poetry.
Particular Falls by Pattiann Rogers
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.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s featured poem! For more of these posts, click right here.
— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan