Aphelion Issue 291, Volume 28
February 2024
Long Fiction and Serials
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Flash Fiction
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The Deaf Do Not Hear The Drums

by Iain Muir

Long ago, the Dwarfish drums roared loud,
The Harper sang, the minstrel played
In the guilded hall of Oberon the Proud.
Once, in the days before men strayed.
And they danced to the beat of the drums.

Then fair and tall stood the proud Elf-Lord,
The Dwarf-kings sat on carven throne,
The Dragon slept upon his hoard
Of gold, of jewels, of whitened bone.
And they lived to the beat of the drums.

In ancient Wayland's smithy dark,
The furnace roared, the anvil sang.
In wood, in field, and on stark
Moor, the sound of sword on armour rang.
And they fought to the beat of the drums.

But Men changed, and scoffed, and cried
That Elves were stories, Dwarves but fable,
That no unicorn walked, that Wizards lied,
That they cast no spells, that they were not able.
And they harkened not to the beat of the drums.

So the Elves left, the great Dragons died.
Men found new Gods to follow,
Called them Science, and Wealth, and in their pride
Saw not how their lives grew hollow.
And they heard no more the beat of the drums.

In the Elf-King's hall the drum still plays.
Not boldly now, for there is no need.
Things are not as they were in elder days.
Men are grown deaf, through paying no heed.
And the deaf do not hear the drums.

© 1999 Iain Muir

Iain Muir lives in a suitcase somewhere in Europe. He is still trying to work out how many people he killed in his last life to deserve this. He pays rent on a place in the wilds of Africa, and tries to write poetry, SF, and fantasy in between catching planes.

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