The Drum Beats



The drum beats

Slowly, slowly

Building crescendo

As the rhythm grows

Like a distant thunder roll

Creeping closer

It grows in intensity

Climaxing in an ear-piercing clash

I grasp my ears, desperate to shut out the sound

My body folds itself in two

Like a penknife closing

Every cell penetrated by the beat

Tense, anxious, stress-filled

And it hangs there, the tension

Like a hummingbird paused in flight

And like the sea crawls back from the land

It eases, sickeningly slowly

As though it never wants to leave me

Pensively I stand upright

My heart beats a staccato rhythm

Each solitary thump in tango with the drums

Reaching its nadir at rock bottom

As the drum taps eases

To its end


The Artist


The paint brush is held tightly in her hand

She strikes out wildly and iridescent hues splatter the canvas

Perched tenuously on the rock before her

She stands back, inspecting her creation

Swipes a strand of hair from her face

And gazes, sighs, the image does not reflect

The one once held in her mind’s eye

Frustration swells and she reaches forth her hand

Grasps an unused brush

Dips it angrily into the pot of black upon the stool

And lets it drip upon the newborn work

Then grasps and tears a long blade of grass from the earth

Using it to spear her work and spread the dark hues in wispy lines

And laughs a deep-throated laugh at the results

The image is not what she had conceived

And yet it holds a beauty just the same

Beauty born out of darkness and frustration

Birthed in raging anger

The light dancing across the colors both rich and subtle

Creating a mosaic and thrusting forth feelings

Capturing perfectly her ever-changing mood

Smiling at her folly she eases herself into the little chair

And awaits her work to dry in the soft breeze and warm sun

The “Art” of War

I think one of the strangest phrases in the English language is “the art of war”. How can we describe war as art? To me art is creative, life giving, soul-baring, and thought-provoking. How can war with its destruction, death, and harm of every kind be described as art? There is nothing of art in war. It cripples people and countries. It leaves nothing but pain and despair in its wake.

The Oxford dictionary defines art as “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”

Art can also be expressed in literature, music and song; It may be a piece of architecture or photography. Art instills a sense of wonder. It can perplex and puzzle us. It can leave us feeling truly touched or amazed and exuberant. I think anything that makes people think or feel on a deeper level might be called “art”. Art moves us, changes us, and ultimately, leaves us better people than we were before the experience.

Not so with war. War is ugly, damaging to the psyche and is the opposite of creativity. War tears down. It does not build up. It is the antithesis of art. War is death-dealing. There is absolutely nothing positive about war. It is nothing but strategic moves to inflict the greatest pain on a group of people or a country. And that may require a level of creativity on the part of generals, etc. but let us not call it art.