The Drummer

by Kristina Woodhill

He is
the drummer
with his hands
he guides their feet
his sticks of wood
thrrrump hide stretched tight
this instrument of dance
and the heart beat of
an ancient country's pride

He is
the maestro
at Farmer's day
or Jeshyn's throngs
lips pause at his first beat
sharp signal to the dancers
to form their line and
side by side begin
the slow step twirling
with their feet

He is
the rhythm
his beat bump beat
starts slow - the men
step fro and rise, all spin,
step back and fro and twirl -
arms out with grace, such ease!
they are the dancers and
I know their hearts and
feet find synch within

He is
the tempo
he takes his time
and slowly builds
his case – the beat
bump beat bump beat
takes hold my pulse
the beat pump beat
past feet to chest to soul
I sense the swirling eons
that transcend this
strange exotic
time and place

He is
the master
and the puppets
grasp his faster
twirling strings
eyes closed their
bodies spin and blur
their hair and scarves
whip snap the air
becoming a hypnotic
dervish ring

He is
the drummer
at last he slows
their madly spinning earth
his softly fading
echo now the beat
for tired feet – it is done
the crowd is gone
I stand alone

and yearn again to hear
the drummer's steady
beat bump beat


Author's Note: Our small community was always welcome at the local celebrations. Dancing would include a group of young men in traditional costume, bare feet, jet black hair cut just to their chins. The full shirts, the scarves they held in their hands, and their hair all became a mighty spinning swirl, to the magic beat by the same drummer year after year. I can still see his face clearly, as I can some of the dancers. Their dance was usually followed by young girls also in traditional costume, and though they were lovely, there was an extra wild vitality in the men's dancing. I have seen other groups later, men with short hair and wearing shoes something seemed lost without that wild hair swirling and their bare feet in intimate contact with the bare ground.

Posted on 01/29/2007
Copyright © 2020 Kristina Woodhill

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 01/29/07 at 09:41 PM

Terrific Kristina! Reminds me of Morris or Whitsun dancing festivals I've seen. Very colorful the images! Thanks.

Posted by Joan Serratelli on 01/30/07 at 04:49 PM

I loved everything about this piece- the very desciptive imagry and the form of it. Even the look of this is very unique and appealing! Great work.

Posted by Kathleen Wilson on 01/30/07 at 11:09 PM

The shapes you've created so artfully seem to me the gourd shaped drums, here filled with the beat of drumming words, and as well symbolic of the linked repeating bodies that dance so wildly. Fantastic images, with a three dimensional, even cinematic feel, and as if drawing into being this rhythmic, dynamic percussive dance, drummed into memory.

Posted by Tony Whitaker on 01/31/07 at 10:17 AM

I can feel the beat of this visually stimulating piece. Ole!

Posted by Mara Meade on 01/31/07 at 01:45 PM

Beautifully described! I noted the form as dervish silhouettes; intentional or not, it added to the impact.

Posted by George Hoerner on 05/11/07 at 02:39 PM

You describe a part of the world that saddly most of us will never see. We tend to have little understanding of the rest of the world but this poem gives us a glimpse to a part of the side of our world. Very well done.

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