as i did walk through cities one saturday,
a golden finch came winging my way,
and sang to me a song of my country,
and words of life from city and sea.

golden finch, your song is your love,
and you will sing forever above.
golden finch alight in your loft,
where i have learned and, oh, you have taught.

while she did wing through ariel places,
a red oak tree grew under her feet,
and when the world had started its taking,
she lit amongst its loftier leaves.

golden finch, alight in your loft,
where you have learned and, oh, you have taught.
the red oak tree will carry your loss,
when you alone can't carry that cross.


Lyrics submitted by negatyve

The Gold Finch And The Red Oak Tree song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • 0
    General Commentthe softness of this song is beautiful.
    xheroic_attemptxon January 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTed Leo has some of the most poetic lyrics ever.
    bizarr3on February 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's like the new Beatles' "Blackbird".
    dollylamaon March 01, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNot unlike many other Ted Leo songs, this one seems to preach to the simple pleasures in life. The fact that beauty is everywhere and the concept of love, so misunderstood and complicated sometimes, can be simple and beautiful. We can all be taught something by a golden finch sitting in a tree.

    The last two lines in this song make my cry openly and I can't figure out why. Does anyone have any insight into the last two lines?
    wasmuthkon April 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI thought "the red oak tree will carry your loss/when you alone can't carry that cross" meant that the golden finch was using the red oak tree as a kind of sanctuary or safe haven from the world and the things it cannot--at times--carry alone. The finch is spending its time learning/teaching about the world, and often, that can be unbearable.
    prilla1206on May 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentamen, prilla. it's a beautiful song.
    antiarkie25on August 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentinsight to last two lines:

    Jesus Christ
    Giackson December 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentinsight to last two lines:

    Jesus Christ
    Giackson December 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentto me the gold finch signifies a universal teacher (jesus?) who walks the earth spreading her influence about the beauty and goodness of the earth. the red oak trees grow wherever she goes as her wisdom spreads over the earth and when she is tired from teaching or being persecuted she knows she can go back to the places where her trees have grown and not be harmed. the trees act a santuary when she can't "carry her cross" or the burdens of the world.

    i love this song.
    it reminds me of my dog who died today.
    that is why i can't listen to it in public
    l3olov3ron January 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhile the jesus/salvation thing could also work, i think it's more on a simpler theme.

    ted leo grew up in bloomfield, new jersey (same city as i did!) and the gold finch and the red oak are the state bird and tree of NJ. i remember reading somewhere in an article, it mentioned how he lived in new england for a while, but came back to jersey because it feels more like home. i think the song is just about how he feels for the state, how your home and family will always be there for you.
    shamedgloryon April 12, 2006   Link

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