"Flowers Are Red" as written by and Harry F. Chapin....
The little boy went first day of school
He got some crayons and started to draw
He put colors all over the paper
For colors was what he saw
And the teacher said.. What you doin' young man
I'm paintin' flowers he said
She said,
It's not the time for art young man
And anyway flowers are green and red
There's a time for everything young man
And a way it should be done
You've got to show concern for everyone else
For you're not the only one

And she said
Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen

But the little boy said
There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one

Well the teacher said
You're sassy
There's ways that things should be
And you'll paint flowers the way they are
So repeat after me

And she said
Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen

But the little boy said
There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one

The teacher put him in a corner
She said
It's for your own good
And you won't come out 'til you get it right
And all responding like you should
Well finally he got lonely
Frightened thoughts filled his head
And he went up to the teacher
And this is what he said, and he said

Flowers are red, green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen

Time went by like it always does
And they moved to another town
And the little boy went to another school
And this is what he found
The teacher there was smilin'
She said
Painting should be fun
And there are so many colors in a flower
So let's use every one

But that little boy painted flowers
In neat rows of green and red
And when the teacher asked him why
This is what he said
And he said

Flowers are red, green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen.


Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Flowers Are Red" as written by Harry F. Chapin

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Flowers Are Red song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI also love this song... but this is a classic Chapin protest song. It is about how our society expects everybody to conform to a "normal" image, thus squashing any creativity we may have later on in life.
    mark5tpon April 25, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFirst off, this song is blatantly reminiscent of the Soviet/NKorean brainwashing techniques: isolate the subject for extended periods and humiliate them during their only human contact, then finally offer the hand of friendship while still enforcing the philosophy/dogma, such that the dogma being imposed is associated with salvation from the torture, and surprisingly many POW's would return from Korea/Nam to the West as die-hard Communists.

    Secondly, this song could also be used as a metaphor for the gay rights movement (not just the obvious reference to rainbows):

    There's a time for everything young man
    And a way it should be done
    You've got to show concern for everyone else
    For you're not the only one

    You have to do something this way because everybody else does (having been coerced by the same argument), and if you tried to do something different then allegedly everybody else would have to, so you must do as they do so that they are still allowed to, even though if brainwashed such you will be part of the "everybody" used to brainwash the next people.

    You won't actually be able to brainwash a homosexual into being attracted to the other gender any more than you can brainwash a straight into being gay, but you can convince a gay that they are evil and disgusting, they until they possibly commit suicide

    Here's a paraphrase which won't catch on:
    "Boys marry girls, and girls marry boys/There's no need to see marriage any other way/Then the way it always has been seen"

    Thirdly, I would like to note the result of raising children to only obey orders given to them without thinking about it: pedophiles, slavery, Nazism/Communism, Kool-Aid parties, etc...
    Castle742on July 12, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this poem, and i love the song.....it's so true about what happens in school and stuff....this poor kid lost all his creativity just cuz his teacher didn't understand what he was doing....that sucks.....
    mikes_konstantineon June 05, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song... it really tells about how the world wants everyone to be the same, to be normal, and not have any creativity or be set apart from others. It really is a sad song, because that really is how most people think.
    ginastags2315on October 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentChapin often said in interviews that the basis was the comments from a teacher on the report card for his secretary's son...."your son marches to the beat of a different drummer but no worries, we'll have him marching in the parade in no time"....an attitude that HC wasn't pleased with. This in effect is his version of that boy and the teacher and what he feels would happen to an otherwise thoughtful and expressive young student if stifled in this way by the teacher. Note in the end of the song the new teacher is clearly more willingly to engage the kids and encourage their creativity.
    FlairFan01on January 08, 2015   Link

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