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There is unrest in the forest,
There is trouble with the trees,
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas.

The trouble with the maples,
(And they're quite convinced the're right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light.
But the oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made.
And they wonder why the maples
Can't be happy in their shade.

There is trouble in the Forest,
And the Creatures all have fled,
As the Maples scream oppression,
And the Oaks just shake their heads.

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights.
"These oaks are just too greedy;
We will make them give us light."
Now there's no more oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw.

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  • i
    iflywiteguyOct 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm
    neil peart has said repeatedly that the lyrics were just inspired by a cartoon he saw that featured talking trees. so...there might not be a metaphore even.
  • m
    mrtoadswildride7Dec 29, 2008 at 9:08 pm
    I think this could have something to do with like the UAW or something. Like the maples are the factory workers and the oaks are the white collar execs. Thats what it sounds like to me. But the last line with "Hatchet, axe and saw" makes it sound like it refers to communism being the solution and nobody being happy. I could be completely off though. Just a speculation.
  • U
    UnregisteredJun 2, 2012 at 2:04 am
    Ah, finally, a deep song. This is all about people. Maples are the poor, oaks are the rich. Sunlight is money. The oaks just so happen to have talents that let them have jobs that have a high pay rate, while it's the opposite with the maples. "but the oaks can't help their feelings if they like the way they're made. " the oaks just don't care and they are happy with all the money. They wonder why the maples can't be happy in their shade/poverty; they're still doing what they love and they're good at, right? But this doesn't make enough money to live, so the maples need to get better jobs to live, which they're not happy with. Now the shade represents unhappiness in general. The creatures have all fled, meaning that eveyone with a ton of power, like the gov't, has abandoned trying to help (animals have more power than trees because they can move by themselves while the trees are fixed in place). The maples are now broke or homeless, so they scream out (commit crimes) and the oaks don't care, they just call the police, whatever, no biggie, which makes the maples even more angry because they have lost, totally. Then the maples form a union, or suggest a new form of gov't like communism, where the hatchet, axe, and saw are socialists taking everything away from everyone. Or maybe the maples form a new country and everyone is made equal at death. Or the union is some kind of constitution, and the trees are cut down because they are all unhappy with this law. Or maybe the new government steps in (made up of maples) and punishes the rest of the maples and all oaks because they all acted wrongly.
    Honestly, there is no proper way to do society and government so i think everybody should just go and be nomadic. The song is possibly a greatly philosophical metaphor or just total nonsense.
    -the deviant panther
  • g
    guitardevil23Apr 5, 2011 at 9:50 pm
    The real meaning to the song is that the maples are like the people at the bottom of the pyramid and that do all the work for the company or buisness or whatever .the oaks are the people at the top that take all the credit for everything that the maples do for them
    then the oaks are saying to the maples why aren't you happy .. you have the job(taking the copany example)
  • r
    rocknroller1993Oct 9, 2010 at 4:29 am
    to really understand this song, you need to understand neil peart's background...
    he was heavily influenced by the philosophy of ayn rand (just look at 2112) which is highly individualistic. in her novels, the bad guys are second handers- people who live off of others, people with no talent, no strength and no work ethic. the good guys are prime movers, people who build and create all good things in society. second handers create collectivist societies as a means of destroying prime movers, either in the name of "fairness" or because they understand that they can't be great.
    the oaks, i think, are prime movers. the simple fact is that they achieve more than others, and thus reap the greater reward, as is fair.
    the maples are second handers, who can't accept that the oaks keep the fruits of their work, so they destroy the oaks.
    read the fountainhead, anthem, or atlas shrugged by ayn rand, or listen to 2112 again, and you'l get it.

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