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Flowers are Red

This song is so simple and says so much to me. I must admit for some time I didn't like it at all. Then I listened to it more deeply and it had a profound effect.

I am involved in education as a school governor and admire teachers who can maintain their originality under the stress and strain of the job. I admire those who can instil and engender enthusiasm in children, who treat them as individuals and encourage their creativity.

Here in a nutshell is what Harry is trying to say. This is an extremely sad song. Don't we all know teachers and people in life who act exactly how the person does in the first few verses here? This teacher is trying to make the young boy conform. In other words she is destroying his view of the world and instructing him how the world should seem. Everything has a compartment, everything has a title.

There can be no room for originality. And so the youngster sucks in the teaching and sees the world how he is told to. He conforms.

But out there are adults who see the world as a place of joy, of opportunities to be grabbed. The problem is that they are working alone in a vacuum and are seen as a threat.

Sadly by the time the youngster has been indoctrinated there is no going back. He has become de-sensitised. He will conform, he has lost his charisma.

Isn't the world full of these people. Let's not shun originality, let's nurture it, after all wasn't Harry an original, a one off. Did he not make a difference. Did he not prove what one man can do? There are many parallels between this song and Cat's In the Cradle.

       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 they 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 they 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. 


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