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The Rose You Wore For Me

from The Long Grey Line by Debra Cowan



(©Danny Carnahan)

It is a difficult thing to leave the only home you‘ve known to travel toward an unknown future. Northern California songwriter Danny Carnahan has captured these feelings evoked in a song with vivid images and rich narration. Danny wrote this song for his great-great-grandfather who made it all the way to California from Ireland in the early 1840s working as a blacksmith. He lasted less than two years, hated it, and went back to Europe as penniless as he'd left. But he was lucky. He saw his family again.


When I open my eyes,
I can see you still
With the sunlight so gay
Glinting on the quay
All buttons and bows
And the bloom of the rose
You wore for me
Oh I swore I’d return
As a prince someday
With a ship full of gold
For the world to see
Yes I promised you then,
Though I couldn’t say when
That day would be

And long are the days
Since we lay in the fields so green
And long are the nights
To consider what might have been
And the song of the geese in the wind
Will call your name

Oh the mountains just laugh
When I turn for home
Not a mountain so high
Nor a man so small

Is it hours to the shore
Or ten thousand miles more
Beyond recall
‘Twas a fool to believe
All the things they said
Twice a fool just to kiss you
And sail away
But they lied when they told
Of those rivers of gold in America

If a word or a wish could
Transport me now
I would fly to your arms
Like a moth to flame
But I’m chained and I’m bound
To this cold foreign ground
With none to blame
Does my love warm your heart
Through the cold, cold night?
Does it twine ‘round your heart
As the roses grown
Or does love burn away,
Leaving ashes so grey
And cold as stone?


from The Long Grey Line, released January 23, 2001
Vocal and guitar: Debra Cowan
English concertina: Ron Lister


all rights reserved



Debra Cowan Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Singer Debra Cowan performs a cappella and with guitar, interpreting a wide range of folk songs. Debra has two acclaimed solo recordings to her credit, and her third, “Fond Desire Farewell” was produced by former Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks. A former California resident, she now resides in Massachusetts and tours all over North America and the United Kingdom. ... more

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