One Side Now, The Other Soon

I heard a really great interview with Joni Mitchell a few years ago.  It was a little startling hearing about her experiences coming of age in the 60s and realizing how much has changed in the world regarding gender and a reminder that maybe it hasn't changed as much as we'd like.  It was riveting listening to a person who has been driven to pursue art as a means of survival--first to buy cigarettes and food, and later to stay intact in her vision and morals.  Towards the end of the interview, they played her song Both Sides Now.  I had forgotten how beautiful this song is and hearing it and re-reading the lyrics reminded me of the cusp that my then eight year old, and now 10 and a half year old, teeters upon.  One foot on the bank of childhood and another poised to move into the swiftly moving current towards adulthood.  


Both Sides Now

by Joni Mitchell   (as found at jonimitchell.com)

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds * that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I've looked at clouds from both sides now

From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As ev'ry fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say "I love you" right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now 
From win and lose and still somehow 
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all
I've looked at life from both sides now 
From up and down, and still somehow 
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all


© 1969; Siquomb Publishing Company 

2016 Update: Just heard the most recent version of Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell as an older adult.  The meaning continues to deepen.

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