Whydoit from San ClementeRiver man is god Betty is Nick contemplating suicide
Betty came by on her way Said she had a word to say About things today And fallen leaves.
My take: nick has something to say about the world today and about the past
Said she hadn't heard the news Hadn't had the time to choose A way to lose But she believes.
My take: he is agnostic has not taking time to listen to the word of god or choose one religion but believes in god
Going to see the river man Going to tell him all I can About the plan For lilac time.
My take: he is going to talk to god about his plan to kill himself which would end in a funeral of flowers lilacs
If he tells me all he knows About the way his river flows And all night shows
My take: if god would tell him the meaning of life or how the world "river" works and all the night that show is a reference to the stars and the universe
In summertime. Betty said she prayed today For the sky to blow away Or maybe stay She wasn't sure. For when she thought of summer rain Calling for her mind again She lost the pain And stayed for more.
My take: Again he is trying to decide whether the pain of life is worth it but remembers the good times and choose to live a bit longer
Going to see the river man Going to tell him all I can About the ban On feeling free.
My take: going to talk to god about the ban to commit suicide and being set free of this world
If he tells me all he knows About the way his river flows I don't suppose It's meant for me. Oh, how they come and go Oh, how they come and go.
If god tells him the meaning of life maybe life is not meant for him just like others before him also come and go
Craig from Lafayette Hill, PaAnother possible meaning for the album title is this short story by O. Henry, The Last Leaf: http://www.online-literature.com/o_henry/1303/
It's quite astonishing that, Five Leaves Left, came out approximately five years before his death, and of course contained the song, Fruit Tree, whichof course, fortells his own destiny.
Roman from Barrie, Onis it a coincidence that like this song many other songs by other artists about a "river" are about sorrow, pain, death and other forms of tragedy; is this perhaps the common stream in mankind.
Musicmama from New York, NyThis song is not just about the seductiveness of quite desperation and despair; it's a kind of metaphor in music for the seductiveness of quiet desperation and despair. The music moves along--I was going to say languidly, but that word sounds to leisurely, and there is nothing in this song that hints and leisure--like the drifting of a seemingly slow and melancholy, yet inescapable, river current. The narrator of the song has no choice but to go to the river man even if the answers and anything else the river man has are not meant for him--or for "Betty," who waits "for the sky to blow away" or "perhaps to stay." She isn't sure of which.
In some odd way, this song reminds me of T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Check it out--and, of course "River Man." I love this song and, in fact, every other song that accompanies it on the "Five Leaves Left" album.