'In America, where God and the Devil live alongside Western rationalism, Milton seems right at home. After the attacks of September 11th, it was possible to find Milton invoked to remind us of the nature of absolute evil—his Satan really is a model terrorist, who, having abandoned hope of a happy home, devotes his energy to destroying the lives of others—and at the same time quoted to uphold the rights of individuals whose distasteful views might be curtailed during a time of war.'
not to call rosen unoriginal, since he is talking about the trend of invoking milton to comment upon our 'post-9/11 world' (we haven't had a phrase like that since WWII, anyway...), but not being as concerned with originality as some might assume, i thought i should add my voice to the fray, seeing as a poem i wrote a couple years back does exactly what rosen claims people were doing. it's called 'the invention of a barbarous age (a miltonic ode to that september),' and it proves him right (what i call 'truth by coincidence').
just a couple notes, to take us back to paradise lost. 'the invention of a barbarous age' is rhyme, according to milton's introduction 'Rime being no necessary Adjunct or true Ornament of Poem or good Verse, in longer Works especially, but the Invention of a barbarous Age, to set off wretched matter and lame Meeter.' i should add that milton, barbarian that he was, was quite fond of rhyme, and sometimes of the most facile kind--a random example from the first part of 'the passion' reveals these almost laughable bouts-rimes: 'mirth ring birth sing wing light night/song wo long so undergo plight wight. one more thing, if you remember anything at all about a book, it should usually be the first sentence, so...
Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
Sing Heav'nly Muse...
not a whole sentence, true, but still enough to recognize the inversion (not 'sing of' but 'of sing'), which i borrowed for my first lines as well. but enough...
the invention of a barbarous age (a miltonic ode to that september)
of the hollow places
inside the clenched teeth—balled fist
of the black-eyed pearl
of rainbow flung on raped bliss
sing a song to loose the soul
the tower with its gaping hole
the sky brought to its knees
and the birds sent chirping
his pained melodies
are with us still—dull medicine
and we are sometimes tired, bitter
when the day ends
only waiting for dreams
to undo a few stupid memories
that repeat themselves again, anyway
i love you, but have forgotten why
have suffocated pearl and tongue
but falling in your darkled arms remember
a sometime eve and later morn