The Jazz Legacy of Jim Pepper: An American Original

“Before the Drum” (poem)

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(originally published by Brilliant Corners, Sascha Feinstein, ed.)

 

BEFORE THE DRUM

(for Milford Graves)

Tradition says
before the drum was the bird
was the bird came before the drum
was the bird’s feet the wings flutter
was the heart beat of the bird
came before the drum

Tradition says
before the drum was the whistle
was the whistle of the bird came before the drum
was the nightsong of the bird
came before the drum
Tradition says was first the whistle
before the drum

Tradition says
before the drum was the body
drum was the body drum before the drum
was the deeper part of the body drum
was the heart the stomach
was the lungs before the drum
Tradition says was first the body drum
before the drum

The drum says
Was First the Drum
Tradition says
before the drum was the drum
was the drum came before the drum
The drum says
Comes the Drum

(Bill Siegel)

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Written by Bill Siegel

February 27, 2008 at 2:56 am

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