Voices from Solitary: Sad Flutes

by | October 21, 2016

Francis Bauer Harris has been on Death Row at Greene State Correctional Institution for 19 years. He was convicted of first degree murder in 1997, though he continues to maintain his innocence. On Death Row, Harris spends 23 to 24 hours a day in solitary confinement. According to a friend with whom he corresponds, “he feels like at times he is experiencing the ‘onset’ of symptoms of solitary confinement and has observed it in others.  The only way he and others can cope is to try to keep his mind busy with his own legal work and to find solace in art and poetry.” The following poem, written in July 2016, is entitled “Heartbreak in Solitary, aka Sad Flutes.” Harris can receive mail at Francis Bauer Harris DL0556 PA, SCI Greene Death Row, 175 Progress Drive, Waynesburg, PA 15370. –Jean Casella


There is this hole I guess

it is where my heart used to be

it is so annoying

I mean I lay on my bed to watch t.v.

and if I set the remote down it falls in there

or my glasses they always fall In there if I set them down

all kinds of food crumbs end up in there if i eat too

but the thing that really gets on my nerves is late at night

when it is very quiet and all the noise is gone

there is a breeze that blows thru the cell

and it goes in there and makes this sound

its hard to describe

its a low wailing like someone crying

the sound of hope dying a slow painful death

its like the sound a dream makes when it is dying

slowly and in much pain

it sounds like a sad flute as it is blown through

but I think I know how to shut it up

I have all this sadness and pain

just pouring out of me right now

I can ball it up and stuff it in there

and you know if you let sadness and pain stew for a time

it will turn to anger and resentment

and that can really fill up that hole

yeah I’ll put it all in there

no more sad flute…


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