The Ancient Tree Drummer

I hear him.
Making holes again.
Hollow places in dead trees.
He’s very old, you know.
Pterodactyl-like, I think.
With his red crest
bobbing up and down,
he seems so very proud.
Downright cocky, I’d say.
His drilling stops.
Oh, I hear him again!
Those odd cuk wucka sounds he makes.
His mate makes him wait.
I know he’s listening for her.
Finally she returns his call.
His work resumes.
Strange fellow–
that pileated woodpecker.
Feasting on ants and beetles
deep in the old forest,
where there’s plenty of dead wood.
The hollow tree is his drum, you know,
He’s playing a driving beat.
Latin rock, I think.
He’s ancient, you know.
I hope I see him.

First published in Stilling the Waters (2005).

This entry was posted in Free Verse Poetry, Nature Poetry by Don Iannone. Bookmark the permalink.

About Don Iannone

Don Iannone is a poet, writer, teacher and photographer who lives in the Greater Cleveland area. He has worked in the economic development field for over 35 years. Don is the author of three poetry books and five photography books. He is working on a short book of photographs and poems about human trafficking. This work was exhibited at six venues in Ohio. Don holds an M.A. degree in Art and Consciousness Studies from the University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles, where he teaches writing. His educational background also includes studies in Anthropology, Photography, Organizational Behavior, and Economic Development. Don’s website: Wisdom Work Press:

13 thoughts on “The Ancient Tree Drummer

  1. A very definite Mary Oliver feel to it. Beautiful birds, but can be very annoying.

  2. Thanks jel and Pat.

    Pat, Mary Oliver is from the Cleveland area, and also a favorite poet.

    Jel, welcome back and hope you’re well.

  3. Thanks Polona and Andrew.

    As Pat said, beautiful birds, but they can cause some trouble, especially to wood frame houses. Flickers are always trying to drill into our house frame.

  4. nice one
    reminded how much i miss them
    that drumming has intruded on some pleasant moments in the past 🙂

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