Naomi Rose / Songs, and Writings on Music
"A masterwork awakens in us reactions of a spiritual order that are already in us, only waiting to be aroused. . . [M]usic cannot persuade; it makes evident. It does not shape conduct; it is itself the exemplification of a particular way of looking at life. A concert is not a sermon. It is . . . a reincarnation of a series of ideas implicit in the work of art." — Aaron Copland, Music and Imagination
Music has found me, challenged me, inspired me, saved me, dismantled me, and loved me into expression. Music was the subtext, the subliminal message, the angelic whisper, the reminder, the “hang in there, this will pass” inner coaching, the message, the method, the lure, the reason, the bridge, the way, the instrument itself, and the holy call. — Naomi Rose
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Some of the songs here are favorites I have picked up over the years. One, I wrote myself. I have written numerous songs in the course of my lifetime, but this one below seems to stand the test of time. I hope you enjoy what I willingly share with you.
SONG: DIAMONDS AT OUR FEET
“Diamonds at Our Feet” is a song I wrote years ago, in an inspired state. In this rendition, I sing it with a dulcimer accompaniment. (The dulcimer is the instrument shown in the photo at the top of this page.) I hope you enjoy hearing it. The words follow below.
“Diamonds at Our Feet,” by Naomi Rose. Copyright by Naomi Rose. All rights reserved.*
When I wake up in the morning, you greet me with the day / You shine your light upon me and you show me the way. / And into my heart comes a memory so sweet, like walking on the sidewalk with diamonds at my feet.
And as I look behind me at the years gone by / And remember being little and swallowing my cry / And I’d walk all alone with the sun so glaring bright / And in the clearest daylight I’d be in darkest night.
And I walked all alone, with people all around / I tucked myself in, I kept my head down / And hard as it all seemed, you did not miss a beat / For when I looked below me there were diamonds at my feet.
The workmen who had labored to put the sidewalk down / No doubt were just doing it as it had been passed down / Or did they know the bits of rock mixed in with the cement / That glittered when the sun touched them would cause such strange content.
The story of our lives is lit by this much greater light / Obscured in darker moments and covered from our sight / But when our story’s over and our time here is complete / All that we’ll remember are the diamonds at our feet.
And we walk hand in hand into the light of day / Into the darkest night, into the hardest way / And even there, the love that is so sweet / Is reflected all around us in the diamonds at our feet.
* If you would like to sing this song publicly, please contact me for permission. I’m glad to share it.
SONG: THE WATER IS WIDE
“The Water Is Wide” is a lovely old folk song. I changed the words from the more lamenting version (“The water is wide, I cannot cross over / and neither have I wings to fly”) to a more hopeful version (“The water is wide, I can cross over / and also have I wings to fly / Give me a boat that can carry two / and both shall row, my love and I”). The rest of the lyrics follow in this vein. I find that when I sing it, I feel affirmed about whatever it is that I, in the moment, think I can’t make my way through. It’s a sung affirmation. And a beautiful melody. I hope you enjoy my rendition.
SONG: I AM THE RIVER, I AM THE SEA
When I was in my teens living in New York City, my parents took me to an off-Broadway musical rendition of “Spoon River Anthology,” Edgar Lee Masters’ lyrical vignettes of the felt lives of people in a small town. The song, “I am the river, I am the sea” was one of the songs in that show, and I so loved it that it instantly became part of me. It was a long time ago that I heard it, but I remembered it forever after.
The lyrics are simple and profound. You may want to sing the song yourself, once you hear how it goes. It’s not only soothing, on the deepest level, it’s true. Singing the truth of life can be very restorative. I hope you enjoy this song.
Naomi’s Writings on Music
Music is such a part of my soul, sometimes I write about it, or try to. The following is a perhaps quirky piece I wrote some time ago to try to get below the usual cognitive filters and evoke something much more subtle. See what you think.
From “INVENTING THE WHEEL”
Merinda had never seen such a beautiful flower. At least, she thought it was a flower. It had those same creamy radiating cups she remembered, that same astonishing balancing of its full, gravid weight on top of a stalk so slender, there was no reason it should stay aloft. A perfume emanated from it like a distant memory, some tantalizing life once known and long gone. Like her own.
She turned her gaze away from what she was assuming was a flower, and sighed. Ever since the time she privately referred to as “The Great Removal,” she had been up against the same paradox. Everything looked more beautiful than she could have possibly imagined: the sky’s light was more shimmering; the “flowers” (if indeed that was their name) more intimate, leaning their wildly colored tops balanced on spindly stems towards her as if to almost whisper her very own name; the slowed-down moments of encounter with things she would once have passed by, unseeing, now quietly urgent, as if a patch of grass growing out of a concrete island separating the lanes of city traffic were itself a wonder of the world, a message from beyond, a burning bush. Everything was radiant with life, calling her to it, calling itself to her. The nameless world had opened to her and claimed her, as a lover claims a beloved who doesn’t yet know that chosen role. Only, she could not speak of it like other people. She could not depend on a memory bank of knowledge of the names of things, the racheting how-tos of their care. It was as if her mind were a library, and whole shelves had been rendered unusable; but the beauty of the volumes remained.
The amazing thing was that she had been able to get away with it so far, to pass as “normal,” simply by speaking very little and allowing a reputation as a “run silent, run deep” kind of person to take hold. She made do, in social situations, with minimal talk, nods of the head, smiles, gestures, dimpling in modesty, laughter and sighs. There was no question in anyone’s mind who had been around her after the time of The Great Removal that she was an intelligent, engaged, amicable person, whose company they enjoyed. And all agreed, she was that rare thing: a very good listener.
But what they didn’t know, among all these sociable interactions, was what it was she was actually listening to. That silence was what generated the field of listening, in which others imagined Merinda was talking to them in just the same way they were talking to her. That where they heard, inside their heads, thoughts and ideas and opinions, she heard silence. And sometimes, underneath that, music.
Copyright 1997 by Naomi Rose. All rights reserved.