#tbt: “To come to rest; strike bottom; land…”

Today’s Throwback Thursday poem is Amy Newman’s “To come to rest; strike bottom; land: The world first fell from the firmament,” from the book Fall. In this collection of poems, Newman draws upon 72 definitions of the word “fall,” each definition serving as a poem’s title.



To come to rest; strike bottom; land:

The world first fell from the firmament.


In the beginning. Out of the most original begins the world,

its wish of industry, the main idea,

this first weather, a breeze across God’s face,

new craft swifting, moored, in the unharbored sky.


While we were in effort dreamed—a wordless dream of evers,

the still un-world buzzing in a magnet’s pull,

humming our eyes swift under their translucence, images

in slow motion—while we were dreamed, the world solid shape


pulled its mathematical issue from the density of sky,

the filaments of matter in their depth, dirt, color.

And out of this we must have arrived, without luggage.

What would be our eventual.

A sweet primary shift to be the ordered world.


When I lean in, I feel a fibrous answer,

the burden of the heart hanging in its chest, a little fruit,

and it hurts with its tiny weight, the logarithm

of the pre-made world—the pre-world

firmament, soft, inviting, into which—


by invitation, or uninvited—we

spread ourselves among the Eden. Raised

to its first power. Into that temperate, unforced place,

entwined as promise beneath the trees, we arrived, the fallible human material.


AMY NEWMAN is Associate Professor of English at Northern Illinois University and author of Order, or Disorder (1995), which received the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize, and Camera Lyrica (1999), which received the Beatrice Hawley Award.