Leaning across the emptiness, a flute disturbs old summers lazing on the mind, until a village vendor long since mute has summoned days of childhood to unwind. How little did I know his voice would call, ''Old rags! Old iron!'' from the tides of space. No flute could tease me from another thrall I was impatient to begin youth's race. How still were summer noons with footsteps slowed, pacing the more adagio careers when vendors trudged a peony-bordered road, crying out, ''Rags! Old iron!'' to haunt the years. Shield me from a forgetting so profound that flutes in little voices can be drowned.