"Flower Lady" as written by and Phil Ochs....

Millionaires and paupers walk the hungry streets

Rich and poor companions of the restless beat
Bm C
Strangers in a foreign land
Bm C
Strike a match with trembling hand
Bm Em C D
Learn too much to ever understand
C D G C G
But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady

Lover's quarrel, snarl away their happiness
Kissed crumble in a web of lonliness
It's written by the poison pen
Voices break before they bend
The door is slammed
It's over, once again
But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady

Poets agonize, they cannot find the words
And the stone stares at the sculptor asks "are you absurd?"
The painter paints his brushes back
Through the canvas runs a crack
Portrait of the pain never answers back
But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady

Soldiers, disillusioned, come home from the war
Sarcastic students tell them not to fight no more
And they argue through the night
Black is black and white is white
Walk away both knowing they are right
But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady

Smoke dreams of escaping souls are drifting by
Dull the pain of living as they slowly die
Smiles change into a sneer
washed away by whiskey tears
In the quicksand of their mind they disappear
Still nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady

Feeble, aged, people almost to their knees
Complain about the present using memories
Never found their pot of gold
Wrinkled hands pound weary holes
Each line screams out you're old, you're old, you're old
But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady

And the flower lady hobbles home without a sale
Tattered shreds of petals leave a fading trail
Not a pause to hold a rose
Even she no longer knows
The lamp goes out the evening now is closed
And nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady


Lyrics submitted by weezerific:cutlery

"Flower Lady" as written by Phil Ochs

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Flower Lady song meanings
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2 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentThis song is one my favorite Ochs songs. As far as I know, it's about the death of beauty and happiness.

    The flower lady is a purveyor of beauty but no one is buying. To be cliché, no one is stopping to smell the flowers.
    lostsplineon July 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is actually based on a real person, a flower lady who used to habit the Greenwich Village coffee houses at which Phil and his buddies played. She never spoke a word to anyone - just walked in to a place like the Gaslight and went from table to table selling her flowers. It was pretty typical of the folkniks at the time to snicker at her, and I think this was a reaction by Phil to that experience, possibly a couple of years after the fact (written in the second half of 1965).

    Suze Rotolo mentions her in her memoir, A Freewheelin' Time.
    cgrahamon November 18, 2011   Link

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