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).

Author: Don Iannone, D.Div.

Biography Photographer, poet, teacher, complementary medicine provider, interfaith minister, and former economic developer. Holds a Doctorate in Divinity, Master of Divinity, Master of Mind-Body Medicine, and Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology. Clinical certifications in Reiki, guided meditation, life purpose coaching, and spiritual counseling.  Author of 12 books, including two new books in the contemporary spirituality field. Learn more here. Contact Information Kosmos Consulting and Research website:  Visual Advantage Photography website: Flickr Photo Page here: Contact Don Iannone by email:

13 thoughts on “The Ancient Tree Drummer”

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

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