the pied piper

by Robert Lowenstein

There’s no leaf shows its love
of dance as much as aspens do.
In the least breeze out come
the castanets, and as the wind
steps up the measure that it sets
the leaves all revel in the dance
without restraint.
                        They party on
and on until the wind is out
of breath. When it resumes
the leaves explode in dance again.

They weaken as they age, and in
the winter of their lives
they lose their last reserves
of energy—and the Pied Piper wind
charms them away.

Robert Lowenstein, a legendary teacher of languages at Weequahic High School, was fired in the anti-Communist purges of the 1950s. The school board reversed the dismissal and reinstated him in 1961.

“The Pied Piper” appeared in the 2011 issue of Journal of New Jersey Poets. Lowenstein died in 2013, aged 105.

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