Drummer Boy - David Indian

    (To The Poets And Musicians of the Streets And of The Underground)

    Sometimes when I wake in the morning
    I want to go up to Innisfree
    often enough and again
    I want to lay down in bed
    and drink in the dreams
    of a lover long gone across the waters
    it's then when the chords of the drummer
    come alive in my head

    'wake up' sing the drummer boy
    'come arise now for the dawn is come'
    and he laugh and shake his tambourine
    start to tapping on his tympanum

    when you work for a living, well
    the system has a tendency to 'get to' you
    and taking the tubes into town'll take it
    out of your hide
    but it's alright
    I hear the swift, sweet musical interlude banged out by a drummer
    playing the platform on Manhattan-side

    O Drummer Boy!
    I'm wondering how did he get there
    and I hear his voice reverberate
    as we ten thousand stumble up the subway stair

    on any given day (now) you can hear him
    in the heart of the city
    beating his wings like a dove
    in the belly of the whale
    among the cinders and girders
    the concrete and ashes
    he seems compelled
    to tell his tale

    of being born as a drummer boy
    soon apprenticed to a mummers band
    refugee gypsy of the angry night
    sojourner in the foreign land
    singing 'go up!'
    it's a shame what we do to the language
    not to mention other miracles
    the noon rolls around
    we only mark it as a number on the Dow
    I must put it down, hit the pavement
    consult inner oracles
    hey, could that be a drummer
    playing on the corner to the lunchtime crowd

    O Drummer Boy!
    sing his song and trope in rhyming tongue
    indeed he's got me wondering how
    he get the six string sound out of his steel drum

    he tells the tale
    of the outlaw, renegade lover
    he could not deny her
    who loved her the best of his kind
    married in moonlight and water
    they sail on the Rubicon
    not knowing what Eden
    or land to the east they may find

    time is tapping on the drummer boy
    lovely lady re-arrange her plans
    and he has given up his Wall Street job
    to sing in a Rock of Gibraltar band

    he was born to the drum
    was a drummer boy's son of a drummer boy
    seven generations of preparation
    poised at his command
    now he tunes up his timbrels and bass
    in the shadow of the marketplace
    turns to his countrymen and
    proclaims his demand

    'give a dollar to the drummer boy
    give him something with an open hand
    think it over for a moment now
    you may never pass this way again

    and if you go, go up! ,
    nowadays I'm amazed
    to make it home in the evening
    a certain kind of peacefulness
    is singing alive in the air
    have a drink with a friend
    as the dusk come down over Brooklyn
    once again
    and drink one for the drummer
    I hear his music everywhere

    o serenade me drummer boy
    tide me over til the dawning's come
    when I'm going down for dreaming now
    heartbeat pounding like the drummer's drum

    Jack he live on alone
    and without Ezekiel
    Elizabeth and Thomas are
    living in Paris he say
    I think of old friends
    well I guess how we all have got to travel
    I think of one lover
    am I ever going to see her someday
    o tell me truly drummer boy
    is that happy morning still to come
    I'm listening for hints and clues
    every time you play your scales and runs

    and go up!

    © 1983 by David Indian, The Parkdale Poetry Publishing Co.


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