The Flute Girl Song

In Plato’s Symposium, just before all the theories of the erotic are advanced, the men dismiss the flute girl. The erotic then gets discussed by men for men. It is only when Socrates introduces Diotima into his speech that the feminine is reinserted as a necessary and originative element of the magic and power of the erotic. The following is a creative imagining of the flute girl’s sudden reappearance in the speech of Diotima via embodying the erotic in her song.

THE FLUTE GIRL SONG

I was making music for the men,

Music of the highest kind,

Enjoying the divine wind in my chest, my lips pressed in enthusiasm.

My hips swayed, releasing me to play, exposing myself/not myself, at ease, despite their intentions.

And they could not help but watch, but listen as I moved, as I moved them to feel, to remember.

Their desire, their being, touching me without touch, intoxicating, frightening, alive.

I am beautiful, I think, knowing myself in the song.

…

And then they dismissed me.

Only I did not go, I remained, dancing on each of their heads, a lingering note.

A lingering note until he/she/they invited me/us back, 

To give birth to music of the highest kind 

both in body and soul.

Attic white-ground phiale, the Painter of London D12. Boston,
Museum of Fine Arts 65-908
ca. 450BCE

By Danielle A. Layne

Philosophy professor and, egads, actual philosopher! Mother and wife and excellent home baker!

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