Explication Essay Morgan`s Poem Analysis

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ExplicationEssay: Morgan’s Poem Analysis

Explication Essay: Morgan’s Poem Analysis

The poem “The Grain of Sound” written by Robert Morgan capturesthe process of choosing the perfect wood that will be used indesigning a banjo. The poet begins with walking in a forest whilelooking at the trees while relying on his experience to decide theideal choice that is based on the tone. He also describes how to makea banjo and how it should have the hide that also amplifies the soundthat will be created. Lastly, he reveals how the banjo will have aunique and entertaining sound when one is playing it. More important,this essay will explain how a banjo maker has perfected the craft andknows how to choose the wood, design the instrument and play it sothat it can have the perfect beat.

The poet talks about craftsmanship, and it reveals how creativityneeds patients and skills. More important, the entire poem alsocaptures the activities that one does in understanding how to dealwith the detailed issues required. It gives a detailed description ofthe work that they undertake while dealing with they are trying to.First, it begins with “a banjo maker in the mountains, /whenlooking out for wood to carve” (Morgan, lis 1-2), which shows howhe is trying to find the perfect tree to use. Later, the poet showshow the experience has assisted the artist in understanding the woodthat will be a proper choice. It reveals that “an instrument, willwalk among/ the trees and knock on trunks. He`ll hit/ the bark andlisten for a note” (Morgan, lis 3-6). The description shows that hehas mastered a way of detecting the material that will create properartwork. Clearly, a novice cannot identify such abilities in knowinghow to pick an excellent tree. In fact, the “note” seems like anexact quality that most of the craftsmen will scrutinize whilechoosing the wood to be used. The banjo maker also insists that “ahickory makes the brightest sound / the poplar has a mellow ease”(Morgan, lis 7-8). In this case, the poet reveals that the artisanneeds to master the difference between the two trees to avoid anyconfusion. The two choices are also ideal for creating distinctparts, and that shows how the artists need to be cautious. He goesahead to assert that the tone is not the only essential quality, “butonly straightest grain will keep/ the purity of tone, the sought-/for depth that makes the licks sparkle” (Morgan, lis 9-11). Thepoet offers influential insights that one might need in choosing thewood that is perfecting in crafting certain sculptures or othertools. The reader will understand how the grain, tone, and depth helpin deciding the tree that will make a final choice.

Morgan then focuses on describing the banjo that he wants to create,and he combines the description with some hypnotic and incantatorysentences that make the poem livelier. First, the poet reveals thatthe “A banjo has a shining shiver./ Its twangs will glitter likethe light/ on splashing water, even though/ its face is just a drumof hide/ of cow, or cat, or even skunk” (Morgan, lis 11-15). Theentire explanation shows how a banjo is an instrument that needsperfection and that means choosing better materials that will createit. He pinpoints that the hide plays an instrumental role even if itis just a piece of aspects that most people tend to ignore. Forinstance, the poet reveals that “the hide will magnify the note, /the sad of honest pain, the chill/ blood-song, lament, confession,haunt, (Morgan, lis 16-18). Clearly, the poet wants everyone tounderstand that the ugly piece of hide contributes to the beauty ofthe beats and sounds that a banjo creates. In the process, it mightalso be a way of reminding individuals to focus on improving theirlives even if they will use some worthless approaches as long as theyachieve their specific targets in the long-run. The poet thenacknowledges the essence of the different parts used in creating abanjo, and he reveals that “tree will sing again from root/ andvein and sap and twig in wind” (Morgan, lis 19-20) to prove thatthe banjo bears the life of the trees that enhances their abilities.The last part seems to acknowledge the activities that will occurwhen one is playing a banjo, and he asserts that “and cat will moanas hand plucks nerve, / picks bone and skin and gut and pricks”(Morgan, lis 21-22). Lastly, an artist using the banjo willexperience how “the heart as blood will answer blood/ and lovebegins to knock along the grain” (Morgan, lis 23-24). In the end,the entire process will lead to an instrument that will create bettersongs that will help people enjoy themselves and focus on enjoyingthe little events they might have in their lives as well.

In conclusion, the poem guides one through the process of assemblingthe woods, strings and hide that is used to create a perfect banjo.In this case, the poet takes the reader through all the steps thatone follows and the qualities to be considered while choosing thedifferent materials needed to design one. More important, the poemshows that a wood that will produce a particular tone when it issmacked seems like the ideal one for the job. The poet also revealsthe essence of the hide in making the instrument even some peoplemight assume that it is worthless. In the end, the combination of thedifferent parts helps the banjo in making the perfect sound that willentertain many people.


Morgan, R. The Grain of Sound. In Keillor, G. (Ed.). (2002). GoodPoems. London: Penguin.