“There Plant Eyes” * A Short Recitation from Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’
Many have asked, “Where does the title There Plant Eyes, come from?” Well, it’s a quote from Book III of John Milton’s 1667 epic poem Paradise Lost. We’re thrilled to share this There Plant Eyes collaborative audiogram featuring the text of John Milton (blind poet extraordinaire), with soundscape by Andy Slater (blind sound artist), read by M. Leona Godin (author of There Plant Eyes), and image by Alabaster Rhumb (composer and Aromatica Poetica art director)):
Here’s the text:
So much the rather, thou Celestial light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.
#ImageDescription: A luminescent Calla-lily-like flower with a glowing pink spadix grows out of space-age black soil overlaid with a gray grid. In the soil sit three eyeballs like seeds—green, blue, and brown with a purple ring around the pupil in the center. By Alabaster Rhumb.
#AudioDescription: From the opening track off Unseen Reheard by Andy Slater. It is the sound of a blind-person cane zinging against a hard surface, an electrified swirling with intense reverb. The accompanying text by Andy reads: “Cane drags along surfaces in every cardinal direction. The tactile data shows the shape and make of the cement.”
Milton’s text is spoken by me.
At the end of the quote, the flower image cross-fades with the book cover:
A misty, speckled spectrum of colors ranging from light grey at the spine to a vibrant violet at center with bright spots towards the outer edge as if a couple spotlights were hitting the deep violet making those places brighter and lighter. The title, There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness, and byline, M. Leona Godin, are large and left justified with only one or two words running across the cover from left to right and doubled in grade two braille.