Drums of My Fathers

To Ami, Vira and Isani –

Eternally United by Blood and the Drums

 

                                                                                    By E. Roy Cayetano

 

 

Drums of my Fathers

Rumbling in my bones-

                                                Organ music.

 

Drums of my Fathers

Beating in my mind-

                                                Jukebox blaring

 

Drums of my Fathers

Capturing my soul-

                                                Sing a hymn to Mary.

 

Words of my Fathers

Tumbling from my mouth-

                                                Speak the Queen?s English

 

Drums of my Fathers

            of my grandfathers

            of my ancestors

Drumming in my psyche

Drums of my Fathers

Drum!  Beat!

             Beat on!  Drum on!

                            And on!

 

My Garifuna frame and

My Carib –

             bean bones tingle

Keeping time with the

Reverberating sounds

            of the hallowed trunk

            of the hallowed trunk

Whose roots reach deep in –

            to the hills

                      and the vales

                                    and the streams

                                                 and the soul

Of Africa-

                                    Reach in –

            to the banks

                     and the waters

                                 and the heart

                                                and the mind

Of the Amazon

Of the Orinoco.

 

My hybrid body shakes and

                           sways and

                           rocks and

                           communicates

With the blur

                        of wrinkled hands

                        of hardened hands

With wrists still sore and scarred

                    after manacles

                            and cuffs

                                    and chains

                    gunpowder and bullets

                    and cross –

                    shaped swords

That traversed the Atlantic

Calling at West African stations

And palm-island studs

                 of the golden Antilles.

 

And like the antelope skin

That captured the clatter and the thunder

                        of the hoofbeat

                        of the herd

                        in the African plains

And the rumble and the thunder

                        of the jungles

                                    and the falls

                        of the Amazon

I, stretched and taut,

Have taken the beating

                        and the pounding;

 

But my spirit

                        and my voice

Will not be quieted

Will not be muffled; for

I AM the hollowed

                        hallowed

                        haloed trunk

                        and the hills and the vales

                        and the streams and the soul

OF AFRICA

                        and the banks and the waters

                        and the heart and the mind

OF THE AMAZON AND THE ORINOCO

                        and the wrinkled calloused hands

                        dragged across the Atlantic

                        and dumped on the golden

                        studs and shores

OF THE CARIB-

                              BEING WATERS.

 

Yet, you must know,

I was here before all that,

I was here before –

                 before

                 the paler faces came;

And organ music

Jukebox blaring

Hymns sung to mary

and the quean?s english

                        shall not quiet the

Drums of my Fathers

Rumbling in my bones,

Drums of my Fathers

Capturing my mind,

Drums of my Fathers

Recapturing my soul, or the

Words of my Fathers

Tumbling from my mouth.

Drums of my Fathers

            of my Grandfathers

            of my Ancestors

Drumming in my psyche

Souls of my Fathers

Drum!  Beat!

                        Beat On!  Drum On!

                                                AND ON!!!