Sunday, July 22, 2007

A lesson on "getting" Joni Mitchell

Kayte, that bad girl, commented on my "One of my songs" post yesterday that she doesn't "get" Joni Mitchell, based on the lyrics to the song "Both Sides Now" and a comment that Tom Hanks's character made in You've Got Mail, which is something that I just could not allow to pass. First of all, because I do not hold Tom Hanks in high esteem, mostly because of my loathing for Forrest Gump. And also because Joni Mitchell's songs are for girls, except for "Woodstock," which was borrowed by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; you know, "We are stardust, we are golden/We are billion year old carbon/And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." That song brings back some fantastic summer memories from the neighborhood swimming pool when I was a kid.

So if you are a girl, you have to "get" Joni Mitchell. It's a law. A federal law, one that is strictly enforced on this site. So unless you want men in dark polyester suits and bad ties displaying badges at your front doors, take note.

You don't necessarily have to like her, mind you, but she isn't difficult to understand. If you aren't a person who enjoys her guitar-and-piano style of folk music, you might at least find that you can appreciate her as a poet. Some of it is happy, some of it is sad; some funny (like "Parking Lot"), some thoughtful. And okay, some of it is a little too away-with-the-fairies, as the Irish say, for my taste, but then, I don't like every song that Tom Petty or Joe Walsh wrote, either, as much as it pains me to admit it. Even Byron, Shelley and Keats were capable of coming up with a clunker every now and then.


The man who wrote "The Worry Song" is a friend of mine.

I suggested that Kayte might like this song. Just read it as a poem, although it would be even better to listen to it. It is a nice little folk-type song, played on the guitar. This song, to me, sums up the entire point of scrapbooking. I love it. Nostalgia for what is gone, but looking forward to a bright and happy future.

The Circle Game

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star

Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like "when you're older" must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams

And the seasons, they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down;
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look
behind from where we came,
and go round and round and round
in the circle game

Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels thru the town
And they tell him, "Take your time, it won't be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down."

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down;
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
behind from where we came
and go round and round and round
in the circle game

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty,
though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
before the last revolving year is through

And the seasons, they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down;
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look
behind from where we came
and go round and round and round
in the circle game

3 comments:

Lilly said...

Heck fire, Shelley. I like that song so much better as a poem.

I've always been put off a little by Joni Mitchell's screeching voice. OK, I love cats, but when they purr, not screech.

I saw Joni Mitchell give an impromptu concert at Trafalgar Square in London. Very political. Not that I don't like politics -- I do -- but politics put to music is a little much. Imagine Hillary singing. 'Nuff said.

I need liner notes because I can never understand song lyrics. Weird Al Yankovich seems to get the lyrics the way I "hear" them. What a sad commentary on my hearing. Or maybe on singers' enunciation.

Anyway, that's a beautiful poem.

Kbg said...

Okay, Shelley, I still don't "get" why anyone wants to sit around listening to songs that are going to make you cry...what sort of artificial nonsense is this? Sitting around listening to Joni Mitchell...I just don't get that. If you are sitting around listening to Tom Petty or Joe Walsh at least there is a chance that someone is sitting around getting high somewhere. (And, no I have never gotten high, but it always sounded like a lot of fun.) I will give you that "Big Yellow Taxi" is a bit of chuckle...but beyond that, well...I still don't get it. You know me...if there is a chance in a world emotion is going to be spilling over...I'm not in. LOL! "Weird Al"...I think I need to meet Lilly after all.

Shelley said...

Lilly, I don't like Joni's screechy voice songs either. Her own version of "Woodstock" is AWFUL, just really beyond terrible. Thank goodness passed it on to CSNY.

The songs I like are the ones where she just sings thoughtfully. Joni's always going to be a soprano, but you can be a soprano without shattering glass and changing the flight patterns of bats.

I wouldn't be too excited by the political stuff, either. I want to be entertained by people in the entertainment industry, and I really resent it when they preach.

I think Weird Al is a hoot. I can still remember the first time I saw him doing one of his Michael Jackson parody videos, trying to look all gangsta with "DAFFODILS" on the back of his black leather jacket. "Eat it! Eat it! If it gets cold, reheat it!"

Hahahahahaaaa....