Drum Dream Girl.


On an island of music
in a city of drumbeats
the drum dream girl

of pounding tall conga drums
tapping small bongó drums
and boom boom booming
with long, loud sticks
on big, round, silvery
moon-bright timbales.

But everyone
on the island of music
in the city of drumbeats
believed that only boys
should play drums

so the drum dream girl
had to keep dreaming

At outdoor cafés that looked like gardens
she heard drums played by men
but when she closed her eyes
she could also hear
her own imaginary

When she walked under
wind-wavy palm trees
in a flower-bright park
she heard the whir of parrot wings
the clack of woodpecker beaks
the dancing tap
of her own footsteps
and the comforting pat
of her own

At carnivals, she listened
to the rattling beat
of towering
on stilts

and the dragon clang
of costumed drummers
wearing huge masks.

At home, her fingertips
rolled out their own
dreamy drum rhythm
on tables and chairs…

and even though everyone
kept reminding her that girls
on the island of music
have never played drums

the brave drum dream girl
dared to play
tall conga drums
small bongó drums
and big, round, silvery
moon-bright timbales.

Her hands seemed to fly
as they rippled
and pounded
all the rhythms
of her drum dreams.

Her big sisters were so excited
that they invited her to join
their new all-girl dance band

but their father said only boys
should play drums.

So the drum dream girl
had to keep dreaming
and drumming

until finally
her father offered
to find a music teacher
who could decide if her drums
to be heard.

The drum dream girl’s
teacher was amazed.
The girl knew so much
but he taught her more
and more
and more

and she practiced
and she practiced
and she practiced

until the teacher agreed
that she was ready
to play her small bongó drums
outdoors at a starlit café
that looked like a garden

where everyone who heard
her dream-bright music
and danced
and decided
that girls should always
be allowed to play

and both girls and boys
should feel free
to dream.

Source: Poetry foundation

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