Amanda McBroom did not write the song specifically for the film. According to her, she wrote the song in 1977 and originally performed it herself in clubs and bars, and once on the Jimi Neighbors show. McBroom wanted to write a song in the style of Bob Seeger.
In 1978, Bette Midler and Paul Rothschild chose this song to be included in the soundtrack of a new film.
The meaning of the lyrics to “The Rose” by Bette Midler
The song “The Rose” is about a girl who just broke up with her boyfriend. She is heartbroken that her relationship ended. However, she believes that life doesn’t end here. Life has to go on, no matter what happens. She does not want to ruin her future just because his boyfriend broke up with her. Though she is upset and not able to take the break up, she wants to move ahead.
Let us now look in to the meaning of the song in detail.
“Some say love…soul to bleed”
The writer starts the verse by comparing love to a river. She says that the river of love can submerge the tender reeds. Tender reeds are tall and dry grass. They are weak and get submerged when the river is in its fullest flow. Just like the tender reeds, the river of love can submerge the ones who are weak. The writer compares the weak ones in love to tender reeds. The weak ones cannot withstand the pain and lose themselves when their loved ones move away from them.
In the next line, she compares love to a razor. The pain of love is so hard that it can make your soul bleed. Razor is used for constructive purposes. But still it leaves cut marks and make you bleed when you use it. Similarly, love is good. But it hurts you with its sharp and powerful blades.
In the next line, the writer compares love to hunger. She says that love is just like hunger and is endless. No matter how much you eat, you feel hungry within a few hours. Similarly, love is ever demanding. The needs of love are painful.
At last, she says that she sees love as a flower. Unfortunately her boyfriend sees it as a seed. This means she is very matured and understands love. She has showered love and only love to her boyfriend. In return she did not receive anything from him. He still has to grow a lot to understand love. A flower makes everyone happy with its beautiful colors and pleasant smell. However, a seed needs a lot of tendering for its growth. By this, she also says that she has a given a lots in their relationship. On the other hand, he is always demanding and never satisfied.
“It is the heart…learns to live”
The writer starts this verse by saying that the heart is afraid of losing someone. It is scared of getting hurt. It is weak to face a breaking relationship. The heart is weak to face the hardships. She says that the heart does not learn to dance. By this she means that her heart is too weak to face the sudden changes that are happening in her life because of the break up.
She says that her heart has been living in a dream. The dream was so beautiful. The heart did not want to wake up from the dream. But at last, nothing was real. It was all a dream. Here she says that the lovely words that they said to each other have all become a lie. The happy moments they shared have all become a dream. None of them are now real as they are not together any more.
The writer also compares a weak heart to a soul that is afraid of dying. Everyone has to die in the last and it is a fact. However, we are not ready to accept it. Similarly, though she knows that her relationship has ended, her heart is not ready to accept it.
The writer is pacifying herself. When she refers to the heart, she means to herself. She is consoling herself to accept what just happened.
“When the night….becomes the rose”
The writer is too lonely. She is finding it difficult to spend her nights alone. Her roads are too long. By this she means that she is not able to live a single moment without him. She is unable to past time without him and this is making her road (life) too long. She doesn’t want to live without him.
Till these lines, the writer speaks about the pain. But when she starts,
“For the lucky…”
She comes out strongly. She says that only the weak ones cry about their ended relationships. The stronger ones are lucky. They are like a seed buried deep under the snow. They grow and bloom when the spring arrives. By this she says that he is not the right person for her. The right person is to come in the future.
The metaphor here is beautiful. The seed is the writer herself. Snow is the pain she is facing because of the current break up. Sun is the right person for her and he is to come in the future. Spring is the beautiful days she is to spend with this person in the future!