"Helpless" as written by and Buck Ram....
There is a town in North Ontario
Dream comfort memory to spare
And in my mind I still need a place to go
All my changes were there

Blue, blue windows behind the stars
Yellow moon on the rise
Big birds flying across the sky
Throwing shadows on our eyes

Leave us

Helpless, helpless, helpless, helpless
Babe, can you hear me now?
The chains are locked and tied across the door
Baby, sing with me somehow

Blue, blue windows behind the stars
Yellow moon on the rise
Big birds flying across the sky
Throwing shadows on our eyes

Leave us

Helpless, helpless, helpless, helpless


Lyrics submitted by H-bomb

"Helpless" as written by Neil Young

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Helpless song meanings
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40 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentHave you ever seen, felt, or remembered such a beauty that you were rendered transfixed, weakened, supplicant?

    You were, in that moment, "helpless."
    salparadise63on June 12, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAs far as I'm concerned, that's exactly what this song is about. It's a hard thing to come from a place you hate all your life and then get out into the world and discover that that place was your home all along.
    CeeJaion May 04, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is surely about him missing his hometown, in my opinion.

    Think about it.

    "With dream comfort to spare
    In my mind
    I still need a place to go
    All my changes were there."

    "The chains are locked
    And tied across the door."

    He's referring to the chains of time that have been locked on his past. He is "Helpless" in this song because there's nothing he can do to revert himself back to an earlier age. The only place where his childhood lives is in his mind.

    I think he's referring to the place he grew up in. He can't go back there because time has changed him, so the place only lives in his memory.
    mattkid4on January 29, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI wonder if it is about the town he grew up in (I think he is from Ontario) and he feels ambivalent towards what he considers his home and wanting to leave.

    I wonder if it was about a dying lonely town in which he felt trapped. The "town" could also be symbolic of a bad time in his life-just throwing out ideas

    Any other thoughts?
    Hildeon April 26, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentActually, I'm reading his boigraphy "Shakey" right now, and he says quite clearly that the song is about a town that he lived in called "Omemee". It was a tiny town with a population of about 200, and it was here that Neil contracted Polio when he was about 5 or 6.

    Neil moved around quite a bit as a child, all over ontario and manitoba, so this song has probably been attributed to lots of other towns before, heh.
    CB the PBon December 17, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTHERE ISN'T A TOWN CALLED ONTARIO!!!!
    Increase your knowledge learn about other countries just a bit.
    There is a town called Ontario its in Southern California about 30 mins from me and about an hour outside of LA
    CaseyWildroseon January 02, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLet's put this Omemee arguement to bed. I am from Omemee, went to Scott Young school, which was named after his father in 1993. Most people believe this song is about Omemee. It has a population of about 1500. Most of it is farm land. Omemee is about an hour and 45 minutes outside Toronto which is technically not north ontario but we are considered as being up north. So, I have always believed it was about Omemee, feel free to believe what you want.
    Tragic_05on February 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwatch this shit on The Last waltz with joni mitchell..heaven.
    harvest moonon November 09, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI believe the meaning is more universal than has been invoked. Specifically, I believe that the song is a metaphor for one's life, for one's values, for one's early adulthood. Our views of the world, our prejudices, our values are formed in our adolescence. And there we remained locked forever, chained in as it were! And despite how hard we try, we are helpless to change any of that!
    Hence, in my opinion, helpless refers to our overall condition vis-a-vis who we are! We are helpless to be someone other than who we are! The house is a metaphor for our values. We can look out through the windows at the blue sky......but we cannot leave our metaphorical house (i.e. our values) !!!
    bernbeauon July 13, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe town he's referring to is Blind River , Ontario, where he lived for awhile (he's from Manitoba), and in that town, he felt at home.
    rosene_80on June 15, 2004   Link

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