Monday, July 29, 2013

Love Along the Grain

"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, even though
its face is just 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 skin and gut and pricks
the heart as blood will answer blood
and love begins to knock along the grain.

~ Robert Morgan


  1. I am as they say 'blown away'. Wow!
    One for me to save in a special file.
    Thank you.l

    1. Hi Cait. I am a huge fan of this man's poetry. I've thought about posting this for a while, and then last night the image popped up and I knew it was time ...

  2. Trees making music through human made instruments is a wonderful idea to think about. This poetry captures it perfectly and causes one to pause just long enough to hear one's own breath. Beautiful.

  3. A very nice piece, I heard music playing along with it.

  4. I like this poem too. Always wanted to play the banjo.

  5. This man knows banjos. Whether he plays one is beside the point - he's fallen deeply enough into the music to be able to turn its essence into words.

    A wonderful pairing of image and words - just delightful.

    1. Robert Morgan is such a fine poet, has his finger on the pulse of country/mountain people like no one else... Thanks so much.

  6. "He'll hit the bark and listen for a note". I can hear it, the note, in the words and imagine it escaping the wood, Teresa. What a terrific poem - and spot to end my day.

    1. Penny! I almost forgot about your wonderful comment! Shame on me! Thank you so much. I love that line, too.