The Sound of Drums

The sound of drums beat in our ears and carries news from afar

A village is being attacked or a marriage is taking place

A chief has died and his wife now mourns and everyone mourns with her

A hunting party goes out to the forest to get food for the tribe

Mothers sit around the fire cooking for the family

 

One day when the men are hunting a large canoe can be seen on the water

It is filled with men who are very strange to our eyes

They talk about peace and trading, how we can all benefit from the union

We take them in on trust, give them food, water, and a place to sleep

 

Whips and clubs, chains and drugs, taken away from home

We walk all night until our feet grow weary without any rest

In the morning our village will awake and notice we were stolen away

They will run out to the ocean and see the ships sailing and beat upon the drums

 

Inside ships dark and gloomy we pray unto our gods

It seems as if they have turned their back and left us all alone

Out of the hold only once a week chained together without thought

Old bread and stale water is what we must live upon

Not many people make it to where we are going

Some jump and others just lie down and die

 

Upon reaching another land filled with these strange people we are sold, sold off like precious stones

Babies are snatched from screaming mother's arms and husbands are separated from their wives

Sun or heat, rain or cold, we are treated no better then wild animals

Jump the broom and now we've wed, mass burials for our dead

We sneak around just to pray and worship our gods

 

Then brave people, from where the North Star points, start a train of deliverance

A song is sang to tell of the night when the train shall leave this place

Our very own Moses comes out of the wilderness to lead the train to the promise land

We jump aboard and it starts up but some want to turn back

Moses just pulls out her gun and says go on or die and so we all make it to the other side

 

A cry rises from far and wide about a war that could set us free

Picking our weapons up and going out to fight, our men are true warriors again

No one can stop us, no one will dare, and we are strong once again with righteousness on our side

Freed by Abe and ready to live, the sound of drums reach our ears once more

Freedom from slavery is given and we leave the plantations and try to find a place where we can be human once more

Segregated and put down, we struggle to make sense of where we belong

 

A king rises among our people to help us become equal and strong

We march and march, we sing and sing and get spit upon

Dogs are set upon us and strong water burns our legs

But for freedom for our children we continue

 

A gun goes off and our king falls, once again we hear the drums

We will never forget what our king has done to bring men together as one

As men turn towards their home they mourn a great mans passing

A bright light shines in the darkness and we lift our voices in joy, joy because we know his dream will come true

 

We go to college and get jobs to try and make our way though life

But still on nights we look away, away to a land from long ago

A land that is rich in soil, and free of animosity

Some day we know that we will be free to live in peace as equal among men

Then and only then, we will sing a song that no one else can, a song that says

Free at last, free at least, we as a people are free at last.

© 2019 by PAULINA WOODS.