One Tree Hill – Unrealized Anthems and Undying Spirits

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for U2's One Tree Hill at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Lyrical Landscape: Navigating Grief and Gratitude
  5. Unearthing the Hidden Resonance Behind One Tree Hill
  6. The Cry from the Heart: ‘I’ll See You Again’
  7. The Elements Speak: A Symphony of Water and Sky
  8. When the Rains Break Hearts: The Climactic Couplet


We turn away to face the cold, enduring chill
As the day begs the night for mercy, love
The sun so bright it leaves no shadows
Only scars carved into stone
On the face of earth
The moon is up and over One Tree Hill
We see the sun go down in your eyes

You run like river on like a sea
You run like a river runs to the sea

And in the world, a heart of darkness
A fire zone
Where poets speak their heart
Then bleed for it
Jara sang, his song a weapon
In the hands of love
You know his blood still cries
From the ground

It runs like a river runs to the sea
It runs like a river to the sea

I don’t believe in painted roses
Or bleeding hearts
While bullets rape the night of the merciful
I’ll see you again
When the stars fall from the sky
And the moon has turned red
Over One Tree Hill

We run like a river run to the sea
We run like a river to the sea

And when it’s raining
Raining hard
That’s when the rain will break my heart

Raining, raining in your heart
Raining in your heart
Raining, rain into your heart
Raining, raining, raining
Rain into your
Raining, ooh, rain in your heart, yeah
To the sea

Oh, great ocean
Oh, great sea
Run to the ocean
Run to the sea

Full Lyrics

In the pantheon of rock anthems, U2’s ‘One Tree Hill’ stands as a towering testament to loss, love and the transcendent power of music. Replete with spiritual anguish and poetic resonance, the tune’s emotional gravitas tugs at the very fabric of the soul, transmuting personal grief into universal truths.

While the casual listener might get swept away by the soaring sonics and Bono’s plaintive delivery, a deeper dive into the lyrics of ‘One Tree Hill’ offers a profound contemplation of mortality, resistance, and the enduring legacy of the human spirit.

The Lyrical Landscape: Navigating Grief and Gratitude

The elemental imagery in ‘One Tree Hill’—sun, moon, river, sea—speaks of life’s cyclical nature. As day and night chase each other in a never-ending dance, the song’s protagonist is a witness to both the beauty and pain inscribed upon the earth, echoing the duality of existence itself.

U2’s evocative verses are more than mere metaphors; they’re vessels carrying the listener through a journey of reflective mourning. Each line is carved with intention, creating shadows and scars that tell a tale of love, loss, and the inexorable passage of time.

Unearthing the Hidden Resonance Behind One Tree Hill

‘One Tree Hill’ was penned in memory of Greg Carroll, U2’s New Zealand-born roadie and close friend, who met an untimely death in a motorcycle accident. The track becomes a conduit for processing the tragedy, transforming grief into a poignant tribute that transcends cultural and geographical boundaries.

Yet, there’s a deeper layer still. With references to Victor Jara, the Chilean protest singer who fell victim to Pinochet’s regime, Bono’s verses smuggle in themes of political struggle and the enduring resonance of a voice silenced too soon. Just as Jara’s blood ‘cries from the ground,’ the song becomes an enduring vessel for his message and spirit.

The Cry from the Heart: ‘I’ll See You Again’

Amidst the brooding and reflective verses, a promise of reunion emerges like the dawn after a long, dark night. ‘I’ll see you again when the stars fall from the sky’ speaks of an inevitable meeting beyond the bridge of mortality, evoking an eschatological prophecy that offers solace in the face of grief.

It’s a line that captures the core of human longing, the hope for an after; it’s the lighthouse guiding the soul through the turbulent waters of sorrow, boldly asserting that even the most enduring night will eventually yield to the day.

The Elements Speak: A Symphony of Water and Sky

The song’s persistent motif of rivers running to the sea builds a bridge between the personal and the cosmic, symbolizing a return to source, to origin, to unity. This natural imagery reflects a philosophical depth, a recognition of life’s impermanence, and the binding ties that connect all living things in a shared destiny.

In embracing the eternal cycle of water—river to sea, evaporation to cloud, rain to earth—the song finds a rhythm to our own experiences of birth, growth, decay, and rebirth, imbuing the track with a reverent respect for the interconnectedness of life.

When the Rains Break Hearts: The Climactic Couplet

The final crescendo arrives as the skies open and the ‘raining hard’ becomes a metaphor for the storms within us. It reflects both an internal downpour of sorrow over an irretrievable loss and a cleansing, a baptism of sorts in the face of transformation.

This rain is both lamentation and rejuvenation; it’s the tears we must shed to heal, and the purifying flow that renews our hearts to the possibility of continuance, to the ceaseless current—as sure as the rivers run to the sea.

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