"Lemon Tree" as written by and Will Holt....
When I was just a lad of ten, my father said to me
"Come here and take a lesson from the lovely lemon tree"
"Don't put your faith in love, my boy", my father said to me
"I fear you'll find that love is like the lovely lemon tree"

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat

One day beneath the lemon tree, my love and I did lie
A girl so sweet that when she smiled the stars rose in the sky
We passed that summer lost in love beneath the lemon tree
The music of her laughter hid my father's words from me:

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat

One day she left without a word, she took away the sun
And in the dark she left behind, I knew what she had done
She'd left me for another, it's a common tale but true
A sadder man but wiser now I sing these words to you:

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat


Lyrics submitted by *meep

Lemon Tree song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentWhen I saw them in concert back in the 80s they sang this song, but they first apologized, saying they disagreed philosphically with the the message "Don't put your faith in love". For that reason they hadn't sung this song for many years. I remember they asked the audience to sing along, but they had fun with it, declaring that you should only join in if you're over 40: only the people over 40 could summon up the requisite bitter memories and sad wisdom (I'm paraphrasing here). We all had a good laugh.

    I've seen alternate lyrics to the first verse that I think fix that problem, and actually make more sense metaphorically. (I think the Kingston Trio recorded it this way)

    "My son it's most important," my father said to me "to put your faith in what you feel and not in what you see."

    Better advice, I think, than "don't fall in love". Still, it doesn't quite work, because the guy in the song is clearly feeling plenty.
    Groujoon September 01, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI remember in the fourth grade,
    My teacher made us all sit and memorize the words to this song.
    He said to always keep them close by, that they are the only words that matter.
    Man, he was a creeper.
    verbosityon October 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentfreaky story. haha
    bestwombat11on March 23, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentVerbosity... you had a very very creepy teacher, I must say xD
    Mizerableon April 16, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI just recently started listening to these talented trio. Most of their songs seem very elementary and basic, but i do enjoy this song and others off their first. After listening to this I kinda grasped a new perspective, not too revolutionary.

    When he speaks of the Lemon Tree, the Flowers and the Lemon, he seems to refer to a new love, the lemon tree or the relationship seems so large and beautiful, and the flower, so sweet and natural (dont know if this is a reference to women in general or maybe the reproductive organs as flowers easily resemble the fertility of a woman's vagina...But P,P&M are so innocent...hmm...) and then he continues with the lemon being impossible to eat, maybe referring to never actually being able to comprehend or really grasp the complexity of love, after when the girl is gone, and guy is left to ponder why did she leave? And the only thing he can think of is the Wise words from his father..."Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet, But the fruit of the poor lemon, is impossible to eat! "
    MetalDeityon January 05, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSad...love is all about risks. I read that in a fanfiction about these two teenagers in love, and the ghost of a boy they witnessed being murdered was the one who told them that. This was a risk that didn't turn out well.
    And that's why the father said not to put faith in love-so that the protagonist wouldn't get hurt the way he did.
    SideshowJazz1on October 17, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis brings back such wonderful childhood memories; I recall listening to this on the car's radio. My parents would at least allow us to pick the radio station and we all loved Peter, Paul, and Mary. The song is rather depressing considering the lyrics, but when you are a child you tend to concentrate on the melody; beat; rhythm; etc. I never realized then the darkness of the song. I just always loved the trio.
    justanothergurlon March 10, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationAn embittered man advises his son not to waste his time believing a woman will be faithful to him - like a bitter lemon she will always hurt him in the end. Interesting that the music and lyrics together are so seductive - perhaps to show the pretty and sweet wiles of a woman.
    graciecaton July 06, 2015   Link
  • -1
    MemoryBack in 2003, the last two lines of the chorus were part of my signature on the first forum I ever joined. I was a smug, cynical, sexually and emotionally repressed little bastard. Now, almost six years later to the day, when I hear the last chorus of this song, I picture the narrator sitting under the lemon tree with a new lover--sipping lemonade.
    Raziel the Wiseon August 22, 2009   Link

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