Basing everything I say on the red read words you've been...
sending my way,
at the end of each day I'll have lent you a phrase that I've read to...
regret 'til I'm red in the face.

I won't ask for a cure,
not for a verse,
not for a glimpse from the Heavens of Earth,
or the worst of punishments meant for me first,
or the reasons I've been here for seasons and turns,
chasing history round with the birds,
for the secrets in sounds and the weeping of work.

And I'll learn ofa the waiting release,
or of him the releaser,
commander in chief,
and police of the purified and of the beasts,
so what else?

And beyond and beyond and beyond
being bonded to flesh,
to lessons,
questions and tests,
we might see what's left and what's leaving it's weight.

I won't ask for a cure,
not for a verse,
not for a glimpse from the Heavens of Earth,
or the worst of punishments meant for me first,
or the reasons I've been here for seasons and turns,
chasing history round with the birds,
for the secrets in sounds and the weeping of work.

Deep beneath the ocean waves,
there is a whale or two
as big as you might ever be as small.

But the wails that a boy brings home
can be as big as the sea,
little trees,
or any ocean breeze.

Don't make me have to choose which side.
There ain't no side to take if you're wide awake and free.
Awake and free.

High above the mountain range
there is a gull or three
as big as me,
maybe twice as strong.

If I tried to sing 'em this old thing
they would sing to me a tweedle dee,
or in so many words.

They can fly about as high as i could ever try
to never die,
or wonder why I do.


Lyrics submitted by adelheid

Little Trees song meanings
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    General Commenti think this song is a contemplation on God, and the narrator's struggle to relate to Him. the first stanza sets up an exchange of ideas between the narrator and someone who has been showing him the Bible (in the new testament everything said by jesus is in red words) the friend "sends the words" and the narrator's response is to process what he is reading and "lend a phrase". perhaps the narrator is indulging the idea that these red words are sent from God himself, so the song is aimed directly at God. at any rate, it seems like what he is reading points to regret and shame. and also confusion that he knows will not be answered with a cure, a verse, or a complete explanation for the way things are here on earth, and why we are here for our "seasons and turns." why history is filled with free miracles of sound, but also the stark reality of having to work just to survive.

    i love the poetic euphemisms that are employed to describe God's role, as the "police of the purified" and the ambivalent tone of "so what else"

    have you ever heard a whale song? if you really listened, it haunts you with this undeniably numinous beauty. i oscillate between feeling a part of something great, and just vastly insignificant. the ratio of the whale's bigness to my smallness seems as far as the east from the west.

    but human pain, "the wail's a boy brings home" is experienced on a relative scale. we experience our confusion with God and the natural world, not just logically, but emotionally. our troubles are a whale of a problem that figures in our mind just as large as a real whale. or doubts can take root as little trees, that grow tall enough to obstruct the sky, and cast a shadow over the rest of our life.

    i think the birds are a really important recurring metaphor. the narrator is unable to communicate the profound truths of his song to birds, who fly free and sing their own beautiful song. they wouldn't think much of human music, just as we are unable to interpret any meaning in their song. even if he tried to relate to them, he couldn't. they are in different stations, as God is to man. even though the birds lack the analytical ability of humans to make sense of greater philisophical questions, they have the advantage of a panoramic view from above, the "glimpse from the heavens of earth" so what is the point. both humans and birds are both doomed to chase history in circles.
    perquisiteon August 23, 2011   Link

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