Lyrics by Marian Partee
Music by Christina Whitten Thomas
Mother’s Word is a song cycle exploring transformative moments in the lives of mothers from the bible. In this duet, Naomi attempts to say goodbye to her daughter-in-law, Ruth.
Why would you leave your homeland?
Why would you share my bitter fate?
Your life unfurls before you.
For me, it is too late.
Why would you leave your people
And follow me to a life unknown?
Why do you cleave to me
As if you were a daughter of my own?
Ruth, you should stay in Moab.
Go to your mother’s house again.
She’ll find you a good husband.
You’ll have a fam’ly then.
Ruth, we should say farewell now.
I can continue on alone…
Though I adore you so,
And wish you were a daughter of my own.
Long ago I had a dream,
When I was a young bride
And I tended the house.
I yearned for a girl with whom I could laugh
And dance and work,
In whom I could confide.
When you came into our home
Our joy was bright, but brief.
When death took our men,
You were the girl with whom I could cry
And talk and pray
Throughout my darkest grief.
Don’t make me leave you or to turn back from you.
Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.
Your people will be my people and your God my God.
Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.
May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely,
if even death separates you and me.
Ruth, you possess such courage.
You give me strength to travel on.
I see that I will need you,
A friend to lean upon.
I cannot let you leave me.
Such love you have shown.
After these cruel years
You have become a daughter of my own.
Let’s go home to Bethlehem
Where you will meet my kin.
The barley fields are heavy.
The harvest will begin.
NAOMI and RUTH
If we have no meat,
We can glean the grain, at least.
Though this land left us empty,
Together, we will find a feast.