Yoko Songs: Story of an Oak Tree

Yoko Songs: Story of an Oak Tree (2013)
By Madeline Bocaro ©
In this very personal song, Yoko sees her relationship to her father in the strength and vulnerability of two oak trees – a young one and an older one. The older tree is strong and steadfast, yet it shivers when its leaves are rustled, and its immobility leaves it open to lightning strikes.

Rustling leaves are the voices of trees as Yoko’s father ‘sings’ to her. First, the wind blows the leaves, warning about a storm coming as the birds also scatter. Thunder reminds Yoko of her dad. She inherits his strength and wisdom and cherishes her memories of him, although their relationship was quite distant.

Yoko has also conjured the image of a tree in her memory of John.

“Some people might think that I’m overshadowed but I’m in the shade of this beautiful tree, and the tree is protecting me.”
– Yoko, South Bank show 1999

“All trees are my friends. When I whisper, I always make sure to say pass it on.
So all trees get the message and none of them get jealous.”

– Yoko, Twitter – summer 2016

Originally featured in Yoko’s 1994 off-Broadway musical New York Rock, ‘Story of an Oak Tree’ was re-recorded in 2013 for inclusion on the album Take Me To The Land of Hell (Sept. 2013). However, it was left off the album and was only included as a bonus track on the Japanese CD edition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmeF5dMFag8

I walked through the park and saw a young oak tree growing,
Growing beside an old bark hit by lightning
I asked the young tree how he wished to be
He shook his leaves and sung to me

Trees were shaking their leaves one by one
A storm was coming as they said
I heard thunder, in the far far distance
The wind was howling, the birds flew away

When I hear thunder, I think of my father,
He taught me about life, that was when I was five.
It’s true that some days are more than grey
But we learn to get by day by day.

I’m a strong oak tree like my father used to be
Though deep in my heart, the memory’s still there.
The sky is clearer now and the wind is fair
The world is beautiful and I like it out here
The world is beautiful and I like it out here

I’m a strong oak tree like my father used to be
Though deep in my heart, the memory’s still there
The sky is clearer now and the wind is fair
The world is beautiful and I like it out here
At their first event together in May 1968 (Acorn Peace), John and Yoko planted two acorns at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Coventry. They believed that these “Seeds of Peace” would keep multiplying forever. After the seeds were stolen, John and Yoko sent two acorns to each of the World Leaders at the time, asking them to plant the acorns for peace.

The seeds were not only a symbol of Peace, but a symbol of East and West coming together.

“Enclosed in this package we are sending you two living sculptures –
which are acorns – in the hope that you will plant them in your garden and grow
two oak trees for world peace.
Yours with love,
John and Yoko Ono Lennon”

John and Yoko’s acorns at Coventry have grown into large, beautiful oak trees – monuments to world peace.

In May 2009 on the 40th anniversary of Acorn Peace, Yoko sent acorns to President Obama.

In their film Imagine, Yoko and John are seen listening to tree trunks using stethoscopes.

One of the first brilliant ideas that Yoko Ono had at age four (as she explained on the David Frost Show – 13th January 1972) was to mix all existing seeds from around the world and glue them together so the world would have a wonderful mixture of plants and trees – for example, pine trees with apples. She titled her book Grapefruit, (pub. 1964)  a hybrid of lemon and orange. Yoko thought of herself as a hybrid.

Instructions for Yoko’s Wish Trees ask us to tie our written wishes onto the tree branches, She also tells us to whisper our wishes to the tree.

 

 

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