The Power of Words – There Were Roses

by Mike on January 14, 2010

Words With Power – There Were Roses

Some songs we like because they make us feel good. Few songs make us think, but There Were Roses is one of those. The power of these words stops me no matter what I’m doing in that moment.

The version I listen to is by Kathy Mattea. The song was written by Tommy Sands about an actual event in Northern Ireland in 1974.

The song is a story about the killing of a Catholic man in retaliation for the death of a Protestant man. Ironically, the Catholic man killed was a friend of the Protestant man.

The words are strong and touch me to my core. The most poignant words come from two verses:

And sometimes in the evening when we heard the sound of drums, We said “War won’t divide us, we will always be as one. For the land our fathers plow in, the soil it is the same. And the places where we say our prayers have just got different names.”

Now I don’t know where the moral is, or how this song should end. But I wonder just how many wars are fought  between good friends. And the men who give the orders, well, they’re not the ones who die. It’s Scott and MacDonald and the likes of you and I.

Taking the words out of context does not do justice to the power of the song. Every time I hear it I think about how we live and what I can do differently in my own little world. Each time I leave saddened but committed to more tolerance, especially for those people who are closest to me. Perhaps the way to kill prejudice and hatred is through each of us individually.

I’ve also seen this song referred to as The War of the Roses, but There Were Roses appears to be the correct title. I urge you to listen to this song. Words can have such tremendous power.

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