Ballad of Naomi

Naomi, was an ordinary Jewess

One look at Naomi and you wouldn’t have to guess

Those eyes, that skin, that nose

That curly black hair

And always with the opinions

Always the suggestions

Always answering the questions

With the questions

She’d been in love with a Danish boy

That she’d met on a student exchange

And she’d sent him romantic letters

But the expected responses never came

And it wasn’t til many years later that she learned the truth

How her disapproving mother had intecepted them at the door

And hidden them in a bundle in the bottom of a drawer

So following her sister and her husband

Who were newly married folk

She left the north of England

For a suburb of the smoke

She rented a room in a a house with a railway line

At the bottom of the garden on a ridge

With a baby belling cooker and a broken fridge

She had a bed and a wardrobe and a chest of drawers

There were threadbare curtains and linoleum floors

Through the cracked sash window 

She could see a corner of the sky

And the whole house shook

As the trains from Hook

To Waterloo rolled by

Monday to Friday she’d take the bus to work

To an office on the 5th Floor of a department store

Where she typed all day til her fingertips hurt

She was a normal woman with normal needs

Behind her horn rimmed glasses underneath her tweeds

And the nights are lonely, so Naomi would have a good cry

And the tears rolled down

As the train to town

To Waterloo went by

Cut to another side of town

In a shabby and delapidated chapel

There’s a preacher and a congregation

Of a dufferent religious persuasion

Not a sign of a star

Or a Lion of Judah

No talking during the service

No Hebrew words in theirs

No ladies hidden in the gallery 

Lest you be 

Put off your prayers 

This was not their way

This is what they say

We are the fundamendalist Church of Elim

We literally believe every word that was written in the bible

We are gathered here today so we may praise upper case H Him

Blessed is our church and our revival

Lower case h he who doth not recognise 

Jesus Christ as the messiah

Must be saved from lower case h 

his wretchedness and sin

Or suffer eternal damnation in the brimstone and the fire

When lower case h he accepts upper case H Him 

We’ll accept lower case h him in

Upper case R men

Back to Naomi alone in the glow

Of the Ascot heater pilot and the valves in the old bakelite radio

She hopes she dreams she longs she waits she prays

For an an acountant or a solicitor called Katz or Levy

To break the marriage glass with her beneath the canopy

That G hyphen D should send her such a man

But G hypen D  has a different plan:

One dark and stormy night

There was lightening

There was thunder

She suddenly sits up bolt upright

With a terrifying scream and no wonder

From out of her mouth comes a voice in a tongue

That she couldn’t possibly have known

Like a croaking, choking, smoking nun

Like a mad medaievil crone

And there in the half light 

Is the shadow of a man with open arms

And there’s something vaguely familiar, 

About his crown of thorns and the holes in his palms

When she asked for a nice Jewish boy to be sent

This wasn’t exactly what she meant

Next morning outside the rabbi’s office she waits

Next to the cabinet displaying

Silver candlesticks and passover plates

The rabbi scratches his head, strokes his bearded chin

He says Naomi my dear I don’t know where to begin

He consults a few books and he calls the Beth Din

The news Naomi

Is you’re anxious and confused Naomi

Check the tightness of your screws Naomi

Have you been going at the booze Naomi

We are Jews, Naomi

We don’t list Hey Soous

In our Who’s Whos

We voted for Barabas

We keep a different shabbas

And to speak about these matters

Doesn’t bring me any nachus

God said the way for the Jew to honour me

Is to stop on the last page of Deuteronomy

Your mind tells lies and plays tricks on your eyes

You’re stressed, I suggest 

That you go home and get some rest

And here's the number of my cousinthe psychiatrist you should try

So some valium she took 

As the train from Hook to Waterloo rolled by

A couple of weeks maybe months go by

She’s back to her old routine

But its still weighing heavy on her mind

She can’t forget what she has seen

Then one morning a man gets on the bus

And he sits down next to Naomi as fate dictates he must

And they strike up a conversation

Like we knew they would

About the weather and food prices

And the Suez Canal crisis

And was it really true they’d never had it all so good

He looks at Naomi and she looks at him

They hear the twang of bow and arrow, and a solo violin

For a split nano-second they can read each others minds eye

And In the distance the sound 

Of the train inbound to Waterloo goes by

She said Michael? Can I trust you?

If I tell you a secret will you scoff?

He said ‘Naomi, of course you can trust me

But this my stop 

And I must get off

Meet me next Sunday morning at 11 am

Here’s the address - I’ll see you then’

Had he not been making an emergency visit to his

Grandma in the twilight home

He wouldn’t have caught that particular bus at that particular time

In that particular zone

Come Sunday morning

She’s nervous and she’s scared

And along the backstreets near Waterloo Station

She grips her A to Z

She arrives at the appointed place and time

It’s a shabby and delapdatedchapel - you’ve guessed

And Michael’s there to meet her in his Sunday best

He takes her hand and leads her through the doors

As the congregation bursts into rapturous applause

And as the light through the stained glassed window

Reflects in her eyes

They all begin to pray

And this is what they say

We are the fundamendalist Church of Elim

We are here to facilitate your salvation

Naomi come to Jesus and embrace upper case H HIm

Welcome to your new denomination

You’ve found Jesus

Who’s a lucky girl?

You’ve found Jesus

He’s come to save the world

Here on the glory train

It’s a happy day

You’ve found Jesus

Jesus with an upper case J

Naomi - far from being distressed

And the betrayer of her lineage - felt she had been blessed

Let them yultsite candles say Kaddish for her

She’s going to marry Mike and start a brand new life

As a reborn Christian and a preacher’s wife

And Asney her mother: 

So much anger so much shame

She jumps up and down like Rumplestitskin did

When they guessed his name

A boy, a goy, a Christian, oy

I should have let her marry that Dane

But all the rules and regulations in the sacred ark

Cannot legislate for the ways of the heart

They moved to the coast and founded a new Sect

Called the Pillar of Fire or words to that effect

And like a distant memory, as the seagulls circle in the sky

The distant sound 

Of the trains inbound

To Waterloo, go by