Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Lately, in the morning before school, I’ve been reading a few pages from Paradise Lost, and I’m finding, oddly enough, that it’s helping me be a more peaceful teacher. I think it must be the music of Milton’s lines. As I read each morning, I feel almost like I’m listening to a Mozart symphony or a piece of unhurried chamber music, and the music seems to stay with me through the day. This afternoon, as I was teaching a lesson on finding themes in an essay, I wonder if lines like these were rolling through the back halls of my mind:

“… over all the face of Earth 

Main Ocean flow'd, not idle, but with warme
Prolific humour soft'ning all her Globe, 

Fermented the great Mother to conceave, 

Satiate with genial moisture …”

In the midst of my occasional feeling of indecisiveness and perplexity during class, did those wonderful ‘l’s and ‘m’s and ‘s’s and ‘n’s of Milton’s make their melodies somewhere inside me, enabling me to flow along more effortlessly with what was happening in class? Did his leisurely rhythms cause my heart to hold a peaceable cadence as I was teaching? Did a line like

“And sowd with Starrs the Heav'n thick as a field”

help my thoughts to drift instead of dash?

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