Monday, 17 November 2008

Billy Collins & Jeff Scher "No Time"

I had no time yesterday for my intended Sunday Classic on The Mill, so I'll revisit the partially completed piece in time for next week. No Time is a moving poem by Billy Collins, animated by Jeff Scher. I have taught poetry for more years than I care to admit and have lost both my parents so feel empowered to comment on both facets of a terrific short. Billy, as America's Poet Laureate, writes in a direct manner and his material is accessible to all. The simple memory of a dead parent's disapproval recurring years after his death is one to which many who have lost parents can relate. For his part Jeff is hugely sympathetic to the poem. The images flash by, almost subliminally, of tickets, postage records, dentists cards and the like, superimposed over loosely painted scenes and people. The boy and man is comforted from the grave by his mother, his age and colouring changing in a shimmering succession of colours, and her arm around him in sympathy as she protects him from the words and scorn of his father. The images of the graves as a backdrop are seen in changing colours, in one image, for one fraction of a second, accompanied by a postal stamp, a message to us all.
"In a rush this weekday morning,
I tap the horn as I speed past the cemetery
where my parents are buried
side by side beneath a slab of smooth granite.
Then, all day, I think of him rising up
to give me that look
of knowing disapproval
while my mother calmly tells him to lie back down."

1 comment:

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