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Listen to the drum

The old people will tell you that
after each battle, don't care who won,
(and my mamma looked in my face as she said it
a good peace have you talking in tongues.

It's all kinds of battles and what makes
you have strength to fight them is what comes
after the battle is over, that peace
make even a sinner talk in the tongues.

Much as you learn from the old ones
what they know is from their days;
it's some things you have to learn for yourself
and you take that and add it to their ways.

The old peoples talk about
battles and tongues, shrug, say: Life.
But peace isn't always worth the battle.
It can cut through your heart with a knife.

Written by Sherley Anne Williams (1944-1999)


Sherley Anne Williams Poets Page