The Flutist

"The Flutist" is the fourth and final song of Paul Salerni's Sad Stories cycle. "The Flutist" is a poem by Dick Allen originally published in The New Yorker on January 20, 1986. The poem is currently published in Allen's volume.

Date: 1991Composer: Paul SalerniText: Dick AllenSong Collection: Sad Stories

Print vitals & song text


The Flutist
by Dick Allen

My dreamy cousin, I see you standing on a ledge
Above the Batten Kill.
You seem to be waiting for someone,
Head to the side, your tall body all alert–

Even at sixteen
Already waiting, as if you already knew
The many small apartments, many small jobs
You would never quite want,

The men not quite loyal, the music
You love so much
Never quite perfected.
But blown from your lips the best that you knew how,

And your life, like most of ours,
A series of small recitals and arpeggios
Before a few
Ladies in folding chairs–

Almost for someone, waiting
Almost on tiptoe
Upon a ledge, among the pines,
Above the Batten Kill.




    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.