Drum and drums are both plural
Drum, of course, is singular too
Is the reference to a fish
Or to a percussion instrument?

A fish is one drum or a thousand drum
Red and black drum live in the sea.
Red drum, red fish different names, same fish.
Blackened red fish, famous Cajun fare
Black drum, fresh and salt, don’t fare so well.

That’s what they say anyway, the consensus.
I caught two fifteen pound black drum
Way down in Corpus Christi (Body of Christ).
A one eyed waterfowl guide told me
Cook them using a complex recipe
Tasted better than any wafer I ever ate.

I used to catch a lot of drum
Sixty years ago in the Osage River
The Osage is under Truman Reservoir
But I still catch a lot of drum anyhow.

I used worms for drum when I was a boy
Rubber jigs are my bait of choice now.
We used to eat all we caught
Now I throw them all back
Some say drum are excellent fare
That is not at all what I remember.
Pound for pound they can fight

I spent a lot of Summers here
Scout Camp drums across the River
I danced to them back then
Grown up, I left my boyhood home
Learned to dance to different drums.

When I returned I learned to play
Different drums on various holidays
One thing I learned and it’s the Truth
Drums are the heartbeat of the Earth
Take from the past the best
Be not afraid to leave the rest
Tradition’s chains don’t bind me
Different rhythms set us free.

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Walter Birdwell

Born in Missouri in 1942, Walter Birdwell graduated from the University of Missouri in 1964 with a BA in creative writing. Immediately enlisted in the US army to avoid the draft and was in the US army from 1964 to 1967. Married Yolanda Garza a month after discharge from the Army and have been married forty-five years. Walter is a progressive political activist and has been for about fifty years and a follower of Pagan religious tradition for about twenty years. Have previously published newspaper articles in The Southern Patriot and the New York City Guardian newspapers (both defunct progressive newspapers) in the 1970s and have recently published articles in The Missouri Chigger, an Ozark area magazine, and the Brownsville Herald. Enjoys writing, sculpture, hunting, fishing, hiking, birdwatching, reading, traveling, and all outdoor activities.

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2 Responses to Drum And Drums

  1. avatar Eugene "Gene" Novogrodsky says:

    …love the tone.

    …love the memory switches.

    And, there is an ok novel about English Lit at the Univ of Missouri called STONER. Might be worth a read, US between WW One and Two, even later ….

  2. avatar Walter Birdwell says:

    Thank you, Gene. I’ll check out the novel

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