Recently, I animated an excerpt of the Maurice Manning poem “Sad and Alone”. The assignment was to make a video in which the image and sound changed distinctly every second for ten seconds. Since I recently borrowed a friends banjo, I decided to look for a poem excerpt I could use for sounds, while using a relevant poem. Upon looking for poems with banjo references, I found Manning’s and decided to use the portion:
This is the kind of workI like. It lets me remember, and soI do. I remember the time I laidmy homemade banjo in the fireand let it burn.
Here’s the video: Burning Banjo: Sad and Alone
Let me know what you think! How does the excerpt change the poem? Is it okay to take poem excerpts out of context?
Sad and Alone
Well, this is nothing new, nothing
to rattle the rafters in the noggin,
this moment of remembering
and its kissing cousin the waking dream.
I wonder if I’ll remember it?
I’ve had a vision of a woman
reclining underneath a tree:
she’s about half naked and little by little
I’m sprinkling her burial mounds
with grass. This is the kind of work
I like. It lets me remember, and so
I do. I remember the time I laid
my homemade banjo in the fire
and let it burn. There was nothing else
to burn and the house was cold;
the cigar box curled inside the flames.
But the burst of heat was over soon,
and once the little roar was done,
I could hear the raindrops plopping up
the buckets and kettles, scattered out
like little ponds around the room.
It was night and I was a boy, alone
and left to listen to that old music.
I liked it. I’ve liked it ever since.
I loved the helpless people I loved.
That’s what a little boy will do,
but a grown man will turn it all
to sadness and let it soak his heart
until he wrings it out and dreams
about another kind of love,
some afternoon beneath a tree.
Burial mounds—that’s hilarious.
Source: Poetry (October 2008).