The Flute of Interior Time

"The Flute of Interior Time" is a song by John Harbison setting of a poem by the Indian mystic and poet Kabir. The English translation of the poem was made by Robert Bly.

The song is part of the AIDS Quilt Songbook. The song is for baritone (or mezzo soprano) and piano.

Kyle Ferrill, baritone and Jennifer Snyder, piano, performed "The Flute of Interior Time" at SongFest 2006. The YouTube video of that performance is made possible through a collaboration between the Hampsong Foundation and SongFest.

Date: 1991Composer: John HarbisonText: Robert Bly

Print vitals & song text


The flute of interior time is played
whether we hear it or not,
What we mean by “love” is its sound
coming in.
When love hits the farthest edge of
excess, it reaches wisdom.
And the fragrance of that knowledge!
It penetrates our thick bodies,
it goes through walls
Its network of notes has a structure as if a
million suns were arranged inside.
This tune has truth in it.
Where else have you heard a sound like

Related Information


Sheet Music

"The Flute of Interior Time"

Composer(s): John Harbison

Buy via Schirmer

The AIDS Quilt Songbook

Composer(s): John Harbison

Buy via Sheet Music Plus

Support us and help us grow

Dear friends, Thank you for helping us build a comprehensive online archive of American song. Your gift is greatly appreciated.