What the Drum Doth Tell

The Fat Old Couple Whirling Around

BY ROBERT BLY

The drum says that the night we die will be a long night. 

It says the children have time to play. Tell the grownups 

They can pull the curtains around the bed tonight. 


The old man wants to know how the war ended. 

The young girl wants her breasts to cause the sun to rise. 

The thinker wants to keep misunderstanding alive. 


It’s all right if the earthly monk is buried near the altar. 

It’s all right if the singer fails to turn up for her concert. 

It’s good if the fat old couple keeps whirling around. 


Let the parents sing over the cradle every night. 

Let the pelicans go on living in their stickly nests. 

Let the duck go on loving the mud around her feet. 


It’s all right if the ant always remembers his way home. 

It’s all right if Bach keeps reaching for the same note. 

It’s all right if we knock the ladder away from the house. 


Even if you are a puritan it would be all right 

If you join the lovers in their ruined house tonight. 

It’s good if you become a soul and then disappear.

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