Carnival time

It’s a wild time animal, loud and fierce

The scariest thing we’ve seen for years

It’s a bad hair day all scraggy and long

With the drums and the tams and the animal song

It’s a Chinese dragon crossing the bridge

It’s a paper elephant, big as a fridge

It’s a surdo line where the wild things are

Bright, long and loud and heard from afar

It’s the loudest thing in sound and colour

It’s carnival time in the midst of summer

©Jemverse

 

Playing

I played on a cold November morning
Banging my drum to the crowd
As the Lord Mayor laughed and applauded
And the band played on long and loud
I played at a warm Spring gathering
Regalia turquoise and white
The people smiled, warm with the sunshine
And the band made a colourful sight
I played at a late summer festival
The dancers danced on the quay
The village couldn’t quite fit another soul in
As the band performed by the sea
I played both winter and summer
My smile as big as my drum
In Shoreham’s Beach Bateria
Parading out in the sun

©Jemverse (June 2004)

Between late 1999 and early 2010 I played a bass surdo (a 24 inch drum) in a samba band based in my home town of Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, UK. In its heyday the band numbered over 40 sambistas (players) and 20 dancers. We played at numerous summer and winter festivals, parades and carnival events in Southern England including the London Lord Mayor’s show, Brighton Pride and the world famous Emsworth food festival. Although I’m no longer a sambista, this poem captures something of the  smiles the band gave both me and the many thousands who heard and watched us play.

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