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The Grain of Sound -- Robert Morgan

(Poem #1391) The Grain of Sound
 A banjo maker in the mountains,
 when looking out for wood to carve
 an instrument, will walk among
 the trees and knock on trunks. He'll hit
 the bark and listen for a note.
 A hickory makes the brightest sound;
 the poplar has a mellow ease.
 But only straightest grain will keep
 the purity of tone, the sought --
 for depth that makes the licks sparkle.
 A banjo has a shining shiver.
 Its twangs will glitter like the light
 on splashing water. But the face
 of banjo is a drum of hide
 of cow, or cat, or even skunk.
 The hide will magnify the note,
 the sad of honest pain, the chill
 blood song, lament, confession, haunt,
 as tree will sing again from root
 and vein and sap and twig in wind
 and cat will moan as hand plucks nerve,
 picks bone and cell and gut and pricks
 the heart as blood will answer blood
 and love begins to knock along the grain.
-- Robert Morgan
I'm an admirer of craftsmanship in all its forms. The combination of
patience, skill and beauty implied by the word always inspires me, and
it's something I look for in everything I see. And poetry (good poetry,
that is) is the perfect vehicle for it: the poet has to carve and fit
words together like a carpenter or mason, he has to create images like a
painter, he has to evoke feelings like a composer, and he has to do all
this with the elegance of a mathematician. It sounds like a tough ask;
fortunately for us, there are poets who can do and have done just that


[Minstrels links]

Poems that are sort of about craftsmanship, music, or both:
Poem #60, Byzantium  -- William Butler Yeats
Poem #205, Crucible  -- Carl Sandburg
Poem #476, In My Craft or Sullen Art  -- Dylan Thomas
Poem #892, Stupid Pencil Maker -- Shel Silverstein
Poem #963, Concerto for Double Bass -- John Fuller

29 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Marymailkatsite said...

what does the line mean when it says "...and love begins to knock along the
grain" i need to know soon. i have a school poem memorization test tomorrow.

from, fellow poem writer

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