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Five Trees Stand

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My mother was born in Germany during the Great War. She was one of four children, but her two brothers were sick from hunger, one died and the other lived but was severely retarded from malnutrition. Her father – my Opa - whom she adored, was affected by the fate of his two sons and it took it’s toll on him, until finally he committed suicide in 1972, long before the “old man” in my song had a chance to “cut each digit down”.

When the war was over, her family moved to the house with the Apple Orchard. It was on eight acres, and, to a child, there really were a thousand apple trees, and we really did climb them.

I suppose it was because of this upbringing that my mother considered herself a peasant, growing up poor and working the land. But she would also talk with wonder about the gypsies that came to her town when she was a child, and I think in her mind she imagined what the life of the bohemian was like. And when she became old enough to fend for herself, she moved to the big city, Hamburg, and started to culture herself, until finally, following her wanderlust, she moved to the United States where she met my father, and started our family.

When I was old enough to follow my own wanderlust, I traveled to visit my family in Germany a number of times, stopping there to visit on my way to other cities in Europe and Asia. The last visit I made to my Oma’s home - my mother’s mother’s home - she was old and winding down, and couldn’t keep up with 8 acres of apple trees, and they indeed cut down all but 5 trees and sold the rest of the land off to developers. It broke my heart - the loss of something that was writ so large in the heart and mind of a child.

I wrote this as a poem on that visit to Germany those many years ago, and turned it into a song that sat and collected dust for almost as long. It was originally written in a different tuning, but when my mother passed 2 days before Christmas 2010, I dusted off an old cassette with a muted and distorted recording, relearned it and I thus present it in her memory to you, my friends, so you may know a little about who my mother was…

the arrangement is just me experimenting with a whole lot of tracks of vocals, the drums are me pounding on things in my studio, and my old acoustic guitar run through different effects
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Five trees stand
where once there stood a thousand
as a child I could not count them, so I'd climb them instead
only five trees
like Frozen twisted fingers
shaking hands with winters death
the broken knuckles bend with apples in the summers of my youth
are barren now in this December’s grip
and only five trees stand

I had a dream
someday I'd leave this orchard
and I told the old man and his wife my plan
I find my way
I’d run off to make my fortune
I’d discover for myself the promised land
that lay beyond
in the factories and the cities
so I set out on my journey
not aware when I returned I'd find
only five tree stand

but the old man's hands got tired
and his days were clearly numbered
and his fingers became weary
and his knuckles stiffened up
until at last, before he was finally over come
he took up his ax and cut each digit down
one by one
til only five trees remained.

Five trees stand
and reach forever upwards
for something to hold on to
I turn from my past
with my hands dug in my pockets
and I walk away, far too cold
and far too sad
for I never saw it coming
I only seem to notice things when they're nearly gone
and only five trees stand
only five trees stand
only five trees
only five
that is all
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Uploaded: Mar 03, 2011 - 10:11:46 AM
Last Updated: Mar 03, 2011 - 10:11:46 AM Last Played: Nov 26, 2018 - 07:01:54 PM
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KCsGROOVE said 3003 days ago (March 3rd, 2011)
well that's less than 200 km from my house :-)
we share some north european roots then :-)
Cool poem, Miles!
Dig it!
Check out my latest song called MOVING THROUGH THESE CHANGES
ShadowofNine said 3003 days ago (March 3rd, 2011)
Very Cool
Super song Michael...fine vocals...
Check out my latest song called Alone
neilh79 said 3003 days ago (March 3rd, 2011)
five trees stand
Nice!! what a cool tune, love the way the vocal tracks intertwine around the music. Great rhythm and percussion cool job well done
jdholliday said 3003 days ago (March 3rd, 2011)
very cool song! totally unique combo of sounds and style! Excellent work!
Check out my latest song called Please Help, Pride of NYC needs tracks!
woofer3 said 3002 days ago (March 4th, 2011)
gorgeous beat to this
Instantly catchy and well performed and written - no clutter anywhere, absolutely pefect and so pleasant to listen to, nobody could dislike this.
Check out my latest song called Drunken bakers [08-01]
Genre Info
The terms alternative rock and alternative music[1] were coined in the early 1980s to describe punk rock-inspired music genres which didn't fit into the mainstream genres of the time. At times it was used as catch-all phrase for rock music from under

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