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Karon Crow

To the Pied Piper at Thirty

19 March, 1978

Your flute is hewn of second growth

and carved by patient touch.

It attracts of itself those who smell

the hand-rubbed grain, hand-given oils;

and those who hear in its beige warm tones

the several melodies it at once sings.


Pied Piper, the sounds hang along

the seldom noticed wanderings:

the leaf, the neck of deer, the eyes of hawks

move as your aftertones.


Your dress is of the hunter as you roam,

but also the beast, who, startled

in his solitude, will break

for heavier brush and his gold-colored den.

I seek you there—not among the children;

the melody, illusive and withdrawn

to them before the sitting,

lures by indirection.


I come, rather, as the artisan of flutes:

knowing a wood; that certain place of fingers;

the lips that burn through a tempered air.

I seek the hunter and the beast within,

the hunter within the beast, and too,

the piper who would hesitate at being found.


Knowing your history, and your fond regard

for hiding, even from the artisan,

I wait without the melody for speech

to invite me in, await the calm

of a beast cornered within himself

and the sure treaty between hunter and hunter

as territories outreach.


And I am, Pied Piper, the hunter–beast

the sound engages. I, who raised my ears

along the creekbed, sought the sound

and hushed the hunger—to hear again.

I am, Pied Piper, the hunter–beast

who waits without the den.

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