The Drummer

The Drummer

A Poem by Terry O'Leary

1

The drummer beats slowly, the drummer beats loud
     as he beats of humanity wrapped in a shroud.

Well he beats of the rape and the killing of war
     and the mind mangling sorrow we blithely ignore
          and he beats of combatants who’re dying deceived
               while the merchants of murder count profits received.

And he beats of civilians so savagely slain
     and of bundles of bodies cast off in distain,
          and he beats of the butch'ry that's feeding the flood,
               clogging drains with our flesh, filling swamps with our blood.

And he beats of cadavers, by famine defined
     that has ravished and plagued since the dawn of mankind,
          and he beats of big biz letting oranges decay
               while a child suffers scurvy and passes away.

He beats and he pounds till our consciences gnaw
     and his fingers are battered and bloody and raw
          and his hands are all broken and bleeding and raw.

2

The drummer beats slowly, the drummer beats loud
     as he beats of abuse that we try to becloud.

Well he beats of the barons and princes and kings
     who have broken broad backs with their clubs and their slings,
          and he beats of the toll of divine royal rights 
               when the droit du seigneur sullied white wedding nights.

     And he beats of the bribes that the powerful make
          to the pale politicians who wax in their wake,
               and he beats of the waifs bound by chains to machines,
                    and of slaves sporting nooses, and other such scenes.

And he beats of the tyrants in clerical garb
     who have tortured with f*****s and thumbscrews and barb
          and he beats of decrees claiming all men are free
               while ignoring cowed thralls and their agonised plea.


He beats and he pounds till revealing the flaw
     and his fingers are battered and bloody and raw
           and his hands are all broken and bleeding and raw.

3

The drummer beats slowly, the drummer beats loud
     as he beats of the strength of the rebels so proud.

Well he beats of the spirit the rack couldn’t break,
     and the fragrance of flesh that was burned at the stake,
          and he beats of gray witches submerged in a pond,
               being swum to nirvana and even beyond. 

And he beats of the minds that could never be chained
     by the faith that was living while ignorance reigned;
          and he beats of bold battles when Spartacus rose        
               having tired of shackles and slavery’s woes.
And he beats of bent women who’ll fight to be freed
     and will never give up till they finally succeed,
          and he beats of their progress, belying the jeers,
               overwhelming the pessimists' fatuous sneers.

He beats and he pounds till we stand back in awe
     and his fingers are battered and bloody and raw
          and his hands are all broken and bleeding and raw.

4

The drummer beats slowly, the drummer beats loud
     as he beats of the sights that he’s seen from a cloud.

Well he beats of the passion when lovers have lain
     with their bodies entwined midst a field of fresh grain;
          and he beats of the joy when a mother has smiled
               while she’s nursing a baby, her newly born child.

And he beats of the sorrow upsurging inside
     leaving shadows and ruins when loved ones have died.
          Then he beats of an image that looms as a dream
               of a time when compassion and love reign supreme.

And he beats of lush meadows pale yellow and green,
     shining lakes in a woodland, a river serene.
          Then he beats of a planet that dies in a sweat,
               and of smirks of the dullards denying the threat.

He beats and he pounds till we see what he saw
     and his fingers are battered and bloody and raw
          and his hands are all broken and bleeding and raw.

***

The drummer beats slowly, the drummer beats loud
     
     And he beats of humanity wrapped in a shroud
          And he beats of abuse that we try to becloud
               And he beats of the strength of the rebels so proud
                    And he beats of the sights that he’s seen from a cloud.

     And he beats and he pounds till our consciences gnaw
          And he beats and he pounds till revealing the flaw
               And he beats and he pounds till we stand back in awe
                    And he beats and he pounds till we see what he saw.

And his fingers are battered and bloody and raw
     And his hands are all broken and bleeding and raw.

          And his hands are all
               broken 
                   and bleeding
                        and raw.

© 2017 Terry O'Leary


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Featured Review

This is one of the most incredible and beautiful poems I have ever read. The historical allusions are gut-wrenchingly powerful, as is the repetition of the image of the drummer's hands. The rhyme scheme and rhythm are excellent - you can almost hear the beats of the drum in the cadence of the words. The last few stanzas and the way they tie everything together is also amazing - especially the last line. I am absolutely blown away by this poem. Excellent, excellent work.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Terry O'Leary

4 Years Ago

Thank you, Alicia... you are very kind, and I'm happy you enjoyed it!
Terry



Reviews

This poem is very beautiful! This inspires me so much! I love every line of it! very moving! Congrats! and Thanks for sharing this one!

and this poem goes directly to my favorites :D

-Christian

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Terry O'Leary

3 Years Ago

Thank you, Christian,,, you are very kind!!!
... to your favorites! I am veryflattered and ha.. read more
This is one of the most incredible and beautiful poems I have ever read. The historical allusions are gut-wrenchingly powerful, as is the repetition of the image of the drummer's hands. The rhyme scheme and rhythm are excellent - you can almost hear the beats of the drum in the cadence of the words. The last few stanzas and the way they tie everything together is also amazing - especially the last line. I am absolutely blown away by this poem. Excellent, excellent work.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Terry O'Leary

4 Years Ago

Thank you, Alicia... you are very kind, and I'm happy you enjoyed it!
Terry
This hit me in a powerful and meaningful way. Well done. Very profound.

Posted 4 Years Ago


Terry O'Leary

4 Years Ago

Thank you for reading and your kind words!!
A very deeply thought out and well written piece. Valentine

Posted 4 Years Ago


Terry O'Leary

4 Years Ago

Thank you, Valentine!
Powerful and good words.
"And he beats of Humanity wrapped in a shroud
And he beats of abuse that we try to becloud.
And he beats of the strength of the rebels so proud.
And he beats of the sights that he’s seen from a cloud."
You made your point in the words. Many are beating the drum of hope. Few are paying attention. Thank you for sharing the outstanding poetry.
Coyote



Posted 4 Years Ago


Terry O'Leary

4 Years Ago

Thank you, Coyote!
Coyote Poetry

4 Years Ago

You are welcome.
This is great. It flows smoothly and the repetitions don't lose their strength. I'll save this to my library. :)

Posted 4 Years Ago


Terry O'Leary

4 Years Ago

Thank you, Mattavelli!
The beats out loud signal a warning in a great piece

Posted 4 Years Ago


Terry O'Leary

4 Years Ago

Thank you, Andrew!
we are capable of so much good...why do we not learn and do better...good thought provoking write

Posted 4 Years Ago


Terry O'Leary

4 Years Ago

Thank you,Jeannemarie!
A rhythmic wordsmith is here at WC and this proves it. Amazing!

Posted 4 Years Ago


Terry O'Leary

4 Years Ago

Thank you, Relic!
I wonder why does it take so much pounding of our earth and ourselves to see what we are doing to the planet and to each other? This is such a wonderful write, Terry...you have a great way with words...

Posted 4 Years Ago


Terry O'Leary

4 Years Ago

Thank you, FT... you are very kind...
Yes, I too wonder why...

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964 Views
17 Reviews
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Shelved in 4 Libraries
Added on August 5, 2015
Last Updated on May 11, 2017

Author

Terry O'Leary
Terry O'Leary

France



About
a physicist lacking gravity... learning more and more... about less and less... until we finally know... everything about nothing... more..

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