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Listening To An Indian Flute

By John I. Blair

I have a recording by John Rainer Junior,
A half-Taos, half-Creek college professor
With degrees in musicology.

He plays a flute he crafted of cane
Cut on Apache reservation soil
In the mountains of eastern Arizona.

The soft, sweet, simple, supple songs
Evoke for him the times gone by,
Old friends, old relatives, old tales.

But what of me, an interloper,
Of stock come lately to this place,
This land that now is ours as well?

Do I hear cottonwood and willow leaves
Rustling in a mountain breeze
Beside the village brook in Taos?

Do I hear the Chikaskia rippling
Where painted ponies sip sweet water
From an unpolluted stream?

Do I hear the People naming
All the places I think I know
But scarcely know at all?

Do I hear the ones
For whom the sleeping rocks and hills
Are haunted by the spirits of their fathers?

Or do I just hear voices
From a lost world
Keening for a stolen dream?

2003 John I. Blair  

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