Newsom, Joanna - Esme Lyrics

I can feel a difference
Today, a difference
All of us in our tents
Fearing God like a mistress

We lay on the rocks in the sun
Watching you and your mama row in
I sat up and blinked when you appeared
So pale you were nearly clear

Later, I stumbled to my bed
Al alone in the branches
I laid in the dark, thinking about all
Of my friends and their changes

And I do not know if you know just what you have done
You are the sweetest one I have ever laid my eyes upon

It's a beautiful town with the rain coming down
Blackberry, rosemary, Jimmy Crack Corn
You've got the run of the place, now that you're running around
And may kindness, kindness, kindness abound

In this hour of our lives
Hour of effortless plenty
How do we know which parts of our hearts want what
With such base generosity?

Taking so many photographs, so amazed
We've never seen a baby so newly born
And, when the bulbs do flash as bright as morning
The crowd keeps on gathering like an electric storm

The phantom of love moves among us at will
Each phantom-limb lost has got an angel
So confused like the wagging bobbed-tail
Of a bulldog, kindness, kindness prevails

Kindness prevails, ties and rails
Ties and rails fall into line bearing kindness
Where will you go, if not here?
What will you say when you write to us?

And this is a world of terrible hardship, everywhere
And I search for words to set you at ease.
But there, in the looking-glass, a kite is soaring
Stilling my warring heart and my trembling knees

Clean as a breeze, bright as the day
All of the people gather to say
"Sweet Esme, sweet Esme
Oh, oh, oh"

I believe love will always surround you
Brave as a bear with a heart rare and true
But if you are scared if you are blue
I have prepared this small song for you

Sweet Esme, sweet Esme
Oh, oh, oh
Sweet Esme, sweet Esme
Oh, oh, oh
Sweet Esme, Esme
Sweet Esme, sweet Esme
Oh, oh, oh

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Newsom, Joanna Esme Comments
  1. Patrick Biller

    This song is from my favourite scene in Enlightened on HBO. If you haven’t watched that series, it’s basically this song in television show form.

  2. Paul Cassidy

    There are so many words I could praise this song with this but none would be at all adequate.

  3. The Purple Potato

    Anyone else search “pager emoji?” Just me? Ok

  4. Pranay Das

    #Enlightened brought me here #BringBackEnlightened

  5. MiddleMang

    One of the better songs on the great album

  6. Esme Marion

    oh hey, it me

  7. Jenn J

    I had my first baby, a girl, Esmé Rose, almost a year ago. This is my first time hearing this song and I'm crying as I listen to it and watch her play.

  8. ayee lil jones

    The greatest song of all time.

    ayee lil jones

    I don't ever remember making this comment ever or ever watching this video how did? his comment even get here

  9. Luc L'Heureux

    It's remarkable to listen to her transition from Milk Eyed Mender, a wonderful album full of great little idiosyncratic pop songs, to her more recent output, which seems to be not only concerned with transcendence via musical performance, but in the business of actually accomplishing that lofty aesthetic goal - what a damn fine body of work

  10. Chan _101

    I was curious to see what would pop up when I put in my nickname... Wow. I'm crying. ❤👏

  11. Maya Magination

    Is anyone else reminded of the Mary Poppins overture near the end?

  12. Sabine D. Maloney

    I've been listening to Joanna Newsom for pretty much my whole life. This song will never not shock me. My mom almost named me Esme (after the J.D. Salinger character) so I have always had a strong connection to the name. This song always, always makes me cry.

    Esmé Chan

    Sabine D. Maloney wow that is cool.. my parents named me Esmé after the J.D Salinger character😊

  13. Julia Genatossio

    Enlightened! Esme is such a gift, thank you.

  14. Esme and Miranda

    yay!! a song with my name XP

    Chan _101

    Girlspiration samee!!

  15. Victoria Matamoros

    Can someone explain this song to me? I have trouble understanding some parts because English isn't my first language. From what I gather, it's a song she wrote for a baby, maybe her friend's. The song is meant for the girl when she grows up and tells her how much love she has brought to the family and to remind her that she will always be loved. But what do these sections mean?

    "The phantom of love moves among us at will
    Each phantom-limb lost has got an angel
    So confused like the wagging bobbed-tail of a bulldog"

    So she is comparing love to a phantom-limb? They've lost love but they feel they still have it?

    "But there, in the looking-glass, a kite is soaring
    Stilling my warring heart and my trembling knees"

    I don't get this part at all.

    Beautiful song :)

    Hannah Max

    I agree with Marlie, and have a piece to add: Baby Birch, On a Good Day, and even a few lines in Sawdust and Diamonds seem to point to her having somehow lost a baby before it was born. I think the sadness and the bitter-sweetness she refers to here has to do with this baby. And so yes, I think your thoughts are also correct. Though she's happy, she's also sad.
    She has also said in interviews that after Walnut Whales she was determined to only write lyrics that resonated with her personally, so it is safe to assume this song is based on her own experiences.
    To me, this is one of the beautiful things about her music - the world that they build when put together is equal parts musing and personal sentiment, but the sincerity in it all is deeply moving to me.

    Tommy O.

    I find the interpretation about the loss of a baby as being her personal experience completely lacking in evidence despite the interview paraphrase. Her songs can still be personal without them being about her experience. She's written about historical events and figures that could reflect something about her but are obviously not based on her own life (e.g. You and Me, Bess; Have One on Me; Kingfisher). Even though I strongly disagree with you on this particular opinion, of course I cannot agree more on your praise for her music. She is indeed a world-builder.

    Hannah Max

    word. dude, you're absolutely right, it could be about anything. she's certainly written about crazier things even than history while still maintaining that personal connection to the story. and yes, I have as little evidence to build upon as everyone else, and I have just as much [or, just as little] idea of what she's talking about as anyone else. I'm not claiming I know exactly what this song entails, I'm adding a possible reading. [which, even though is lacking the evidence to make it irrefutably true, is not necessarily false]. incidentally, what's your reading? I'd love to have more thoughts and more to build on, rather than having all foundations torn down with nothing rebuilt.

    Jackson Catlett

    Tommy O. I have a feeling that Joanna had a miscarriage or an abortion since she has so many songs about the loss of a child that wasn't even born yet. Esme, Baby Birch, etc.

    Abdifatah Aden

    The phantom of love moves among us at will is a Christian reference to the holy spirit which is made up of our unity and love, we collectively are the holy spirit or the phantom of love. Each phantom-limb lost has got an angel means that those that pass are disconnected from us but no less absent.

  16. Charlie Wang

    This song is so beautiful and kind and tender I can't help but tear up every time I hear it

  17. kaylashalaylaaaaa

    this "small" song haha

  18. Steven Ashton Baker

    Ten thousand likes!

  19. christopher pesqueira


  20. smac

    i cried

  21. RickesRives

    when will she come back :(

  22. Hanna Cassel

    my current obssesion :)

  23. Hong Huang

    I love this song. reminded me of a slow rural dusk. 

  24. bobgure

    I love it too.
    And I truly mourn the loss of my beloved show.

    Steven Sunshine

    Yes! When I heard this song in that episode, I was just enchanted.

  25. Jennifer Jayne Music

    Enlightened. Love it.

  26. glowfosho

    Going through a rough patch, and this song helps SO much. Thank you.

  27. Ron Reach

    Colin - I'm right there. No doubt, dude

  28. Trilby

    Enlightened-- thank you!

  29. Atprick B


  30. Daniel Acevedo

    Brought here by enlightened too. Just amazing.

  31. jeremyfisette

    i was so pleasantly surprised when this came on at the end of Enlightened. i thought they only used original music, but this song fit really well with the episode. i hope this turns at least one person on to her music. this song is one of my favorites.

    El Jefe

    jeremyfisette I miss that show

  32. Amr Sherif

    Enlightened brought me here :)

  33. Trexluvr

    sooo beautiful. it made me cry when i first heard it...

  34. Joe Bob

    I liked her old voice better :(

  35. esther rosenberg

    Joanna Newsom - you are an angel.

  36. BadwolfMei

    wow the same name as my name and maybe the song just like her : O

  37. Tiffylis

    happy tears :')

    200 reflections / visugasm

    tiffylis oh yes so much. You would enjoy my Joanna footage on my channel, glad it's a nice secret with the odd stranger :)

  38. McManatee

    Kindness, kindness prevails.

  39. Collin Campbell

    im fuckin stoned and this is the most beutiful music ive ever heard

  40. Andreas Landgren

    this is a great song
    its the first album i bought from her

  41. antsorter

    @FidelioRoo shit really, that sucks for her :(

  42. rasbobbo

    intelligently written, as always with ms newsom. her voice & accompaniment carry you along very dreamily. very nice cd & we find out... joanna has legs!

  43. antsorter

    i have to admit this is the first album of hers i liked because for some reason her voice is a lot more inviting to me

    and this is a cool song

  44. tlrmcknnn

    @sirormadame You have no idea that is my absolute favorite part of the song. When i'm listening to it and it gets to that part i have to rewind it back again. sometimes i rewind it twice. just to make sure i heard it correctly... did heaven just zap into my in my ipod? *rewind* yup.