falling by degrees

If this world is fallen
then its fall is endless and controlled
around the sun, saved by a greater gravity
than what set it spinning; not so, our fall.

But there are other kinds and states
of falling:  fallen cities, falling stars,
fallen angels and women, and here I speak
of that first falling away, that garden
where knowing was the bait
leading to sin and separation;

not everything that falls shatters and breaks.

No, ours is a slow fall
that does not strike anything
strong enough to stop it,
degrees of degradation

starting with that one bitten fruit
and ending in the ground.

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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14 Responses to falling by degrees

  1. Planetary gravity and the Garden of Eden meet. The play on falling and fallen is deliberate! and the devices – sin and separation, degrees of degradation! Just beautiful! all is beautiful in this poem vested with a sad but equally teasing ambivalence/equivocation but “not everything that falls shatters and breaks. Immediately. takes the cake!
    well done, Susan!

  2. jomul7 says:

    one of the first lessons in Aikido is to learn how to properly fall, it could take up from three sessions to five sessions and even then you have to embrace again the habit of falling whenever you are practicing. No one likes to fall (in sin or not), but we are fallen creatures and like this poem says endlessly falling, so maybe it’s time to learn how to properly fall if one is to get back to one’s feet.

  3. I really love this piece – the first stanza of this one really grabbed me… and the rest kept hold, which doesn’t happen often 🙂

  4. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    The first stanza really grabbed me too. It had me thinking about where our fall begins. Where do we fall from? And what does it mean if that fall is relative to something, some controlling body (like the Sun or God?).

    I really like the way you start this because a fall means so many different things if the controlling body is impersonal, like the Sun.

    • Thank you Jeremy. What I really like about this poem, more than anything I actually wrote,even–is where you, Noel, and Jomul7 (sorry, just met him, don’t know his name yet) were able to go with it, using those lines, interpreting them, and letting them take you the places they did. Glad these lines initiated those internal journeys for all of you, and humbled to be part of that process 🙂

      • Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

        It is a provocative piece and it the image and motion of falling has many different valences (to bring a math term into a poem that has a little astronomy in it -but make no mistake, I am not good at math!). I like that. Poems that deal with space really appeal to me.

        • I kinda like exploring space and other astronomical things in writing, myself 🙂

          I am terrible with math, unless I can apply it to something of interest to me…

  5. Patricia Chenayi Nyandoro says:

    It’s so true. Everything does fall. Not “immediately “. I thank God for that! Love 2nd last stanza.
    Your writing makes me happy Sue. Thank you!

  6. nelle says:

    So succinct – and accurate.

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