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The New Oral Tradition

Original Music Collection

Songs of Pagan Life and Feeling

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"Nobody Noticed"

Original Tune

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When first she came among them,
She was still a laughing girl -
Sunlit face forever smiling,
Lips like roses bearing pearls;
The freedom of her movements
Had a grace as old as dance
And the women wished to be her
If they only had the chance.

But still nobody noticed there was anything wrong,
Or heard the pain behind her song.

She sang until the daylight,
By the safety of the fire.
As her hair burned copper chestnut,
And laid flame to his desire;
But he knew she was a child
By the turning of the years,
So he watched as fading summers
Wrote their passage in her tears.

For he’s the one who noticed there was anything wrong,
And heard the pain behind her song.

Her dress and her demeanor
Seemed to change throughout the years;
Longsleeved gowns to hide the bruises,
Downcast face to hide the tears;
Her straight and supple bearing
Bent and cringing, turned away
From the lifted hand of comfort,
Or revealing light of day.

And still nobody noticed there was anything wrong,
Or heard the pain behind her song.

She cried alone in darkness
‘Til a kindly passerby
Led and left her to the fire,
Where they forged their strongest tie:
The music of the fire
Wove it’s magic in their souls
And together in the twilight,
They made each other whole.

He’s the only one who noticed there was anything wrong,
And heard the pain behind her song.

(Optional verse set 1)

But fate has twists and turnings
That would quail the strongest heart;
Though it linked them by their yearnings,
Still it kept them torn apart.
For the years still saw them lonely,
As the lovers, each in turn,
Sought to give their hearts to others
Who gave no love in return.

And still nobody noticed there was anything wrong,
Or heard the pain behind their songs.

At last, the now young lady,
Came of age to love a man,
Though the cruel who had not waited,
Left her doubting if she can,
That doubt, and feeling worthless
In her soul or mind or heart,
Left her open to abuses
That soon tore her life apart;

And still nobody noticed there was anything wrong,
Or heard the pain behind her song.

But the fire of life was in her,
Though now weak and faint the spark;
And his love became the bellows,
As he held her in the dark
They chose within the warm night
To meld heart and soul and life
And to live the life each longed for
As a married man and wife.

For he quite soon discovered where her life had gone wrong
Cried at the pain behind her song.

(Optional verse set 2)

They lived as secret lovers
For the mother who’d approved
Of the men who’d nearly killed her
Would not tolerate this move
She sought to quench the flame of love
That had saved her daughter’s life
And rejecting her, she took instead,
As her daughter, his ex-wife.

And now he understood just what had gone wrong,
And caused the pain behind her song.

For pain to come to flower
In a life so young and new
First there must be something missing
From the care each child is due
Her mother had a way with all
She thought loving, kind, and wise,
But her damaged judgement wrote its lacks
Within her daughter’s eyes.

And still she never noticed anything had gone wrong,
Or heard behind her daughter’s song.

She married first a man whose mind
Could not long endure the load
Of showing Southern bigots
All the errors of their road,
She fled from him in terror
Sent her daughters to her kin,
Left the country to divorce him;
Worked a new life to begin.

Still she had no idea just where her life had gone wrong,
And so she sang the same old song.

She married seeking father-
Hood, a parent for her girls.
He married her to get to them,
So the marriage changed their worlds,
He spent six years in raising them,
While she sought to breed anew,
Then he bedded with the younger
Ere his newborn babe was two.

How could she ever notice anything had gone wrong
When she helped write the painfilled song?

Their mother off at college,
The young maid lay with her Dad,
While her older sister, love-starved,
Found she almost wished he had
When he’d not let their Mom come home
The divorce court came once more,
And she left her daughters to him,
Taking just the babe of four.

She said that she noticed that something had gone wrong,
Yet she still sang the same old song.

(Optional verse set 3)

This child grew in a world
Made of coloured silks, and dreams
Pain-filled weeks were left behind them,
For such grand escapist schemes
Of living in a world gone by,
In the years of yesterday;
So when at length her father laid her
She soon locked those times away.

And still nobody noticed anything had gone wrong,
At nine the pain was all her song.

At last, when her true love came,
They met first within this dream,
So for years the young maid’s heartache
Feared he was not what he seemed;
For people all around her
Held their words as thistledown
For as lightly they were given,
And as quickly they were flown.

Which is why nobody noticed anything had gone wrong
Or heard the pain behind her song.

(Optional verse set 4)

This maid grew in his loving
That was constant as the sun,
Though the clouds might come between them
Still, away she knew they’d run
As he, renewed by loving,
Would encircle all the earth,
And would deem it merely honoring
A fraction of her worth.

As love began to heal what their pasts had done wrong,
She heard the truth behind his song.

Her movements are more stately
Now the pain still rules her flesh;
For old injuries write volumes,
Words of pain keep mem’ries fresh.
As slowly time releases them,
See the maiden’s grace returns,
For within the fire of love there
Her true spirit brightly burns.

For he had truly noticed and was healing those wrongs
To end the pain behind her songs.

So now this loving couple
Has found peace and joy at last
And they’ve let the memories return
To their place within the past
They have built new life together
On the firm and stable earth
And their joy grows even greater
Each time love brings new birth.

And they watch o-er their children so that nothing goes wrong,
To harm the beauty of their song.

Please note that the author writes in the folk tradition of offering optional verses in sets that tell pieces of a longer song, allowing a shorter version to be sung, if desired, while still encompassing the whole tale for those interested. Optional verses are marked in boldface type.

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Last updated on 28 March, 1999