Gary Jacobson

DISTANT DRUMS

Beating, throbbing, mesmerizing my soul, to this very day
I hear drums beating densely insane,
O make them go away… far beyond far away
Tapping their fevered rhythms inane,
Far past where innocent children gaily play
Unvaryingly warning… foreboding fevered pain
Devotedly shouting of war, pulsating rhythms say
Very silence overwhelming, yet nobody else can hear
But old gray men on a 120 degree day
hear drum’s on fervid winds rumbling near.

Distant war wafts still on midnight winds
Past looming dark and dreary
Dreaming old dreams that cold bereavement rends
Manifestations grown weak and weary
Thick o’er crepuscular night
Throbbing sound of the devil’s fright
Old soldiers feel more than hear
Drums unflaggingly ceaseless with cruel bite,
Striking once more those inner chords of fear
Bringing wars of yore back to beleaguered sight.

Rhythms now and again with bold message trembling
Tremulously pass o’er us
Spawns of hell rapping… rapping
Nightly accompanied by the harp strings of Aeolus
Come perfumed in sweetness of night, all sanity transcending
Back as they’ve done a thousand nights before
Rapping, rapping,
Beating waves upon the shore
Throbbing, sonorous sounds dwelling
Come arising, memories of Vietnam’s distant lore.

Awakening again anxiety’s feeling
Their drum, drum drumming
From soft morning Permeating very being
Incandescent shadows into senses pounding
Till eventide’s illusions horrible I’m seeing
All other memories obliterating,
Sounding on the breath of capricious whims
War blotting out all thoughts other,
Flailing about – ashen seraphims,
God… my long past brother!

Warrior brothers pass review in nightly passing,
Before me brothers I’ll forget nevermore
Tempter sent on tempest tossed, the dead rising
Grim apparitions remembering velvet times of yore
Crescendo’s burned discordant, come numbing
Wringing Vietnam’s ghosts upon the floor
Bloodshot fiery eyes in brother’s burning
Embedded, staring into my bosom’s core
Ghastly faces I’ve seen daily since that horrible war
Ungainly, gauntly ominously omnivorous carnivore.

Drums clash closer, louder, bringing conflict’s flare
Paralyzed senses in bleak fear numbing
Bringing the blackness of that “Thousand Yard Stare”
Black night-bird’s discordant resounding
Flogging incessantly the hating heart
War’s shadows in my sleep and in my waking cast
Cacophonous dins in me still boiling terrors impart
Questioning, “why not I?” bubbling back from the past
Roiling drums rumble their distant sigh
I wonder… can people from a telling drum beat die?

O’er me comes creeping cloudiness lingering,
War’s justified killing, hiding Celestial sunlight
Prolonged from past moments bedimming
Bearing carnal anxieties fright
Chilling sounds whomp-whomp-whomping
Hateful sounds of war indelibly screaming
Dissonant noise borne in pain remember
Thunderous, killing noise, growing ever louder
Burned into each separate dying ember
Threatening to blow all civilization asunder.

Drums drum drumming seized with inharmonious bind
Wreaking on desolate souls vengeance no one can hear
Filling all sound, shaking the ground, wracking my mind
Growing bestially inside-the-gut fear,
Listening as drums of war again come near.
Yet, no one pays attention to my warning cry
Drums rumbling in my bones without seeming care
“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” they sigh
Heard not in flamboyant noise above patriotism’s cheer
Discordant till very life too does die.

No one who was not there can appreciate the tolling
Which in my mind’s darkest silence tap me
Their guns with thunder rolling, rolling
Making me to weep a blue-green sea
The jungle drums know well my soul
I cannot defeat them, sounding on every side
Still sweating in the Nam part of my whole
Nor with haste will I escape them in my pride
Casting in their spell, a dissonant warrior’s knell
The persevering drums foretell a living hell…