Poem for the Day: October 11th, 2021

Woodstock by Joni Mitchell

I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him where are you going
And this he told me
I'm going on down to Yasgur's farm *
I'm going to join in a rock 'n' roll band
I'm going to camp out on the land
I'm going to try an' get my soul free

We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it's the time of man
I don't know who I am
But you know life is for learning

We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
back to the garden

© October 22, 1969; Siquomb Publishing Corp.

I also remember being entranced by the hippie woman with the guitar whose voice was at once a hymn, a hallowed thing, and a harbinger.

I can already hear the dissenting murmurs. Is “Woodstock” technically poetry? Nope. Sure isn’t. Do I care? Also no. And to be perfectly honest, if Joni Mitchell’s song lyrics don’t count as poetry, then almost nothing does. I first fell in love with Joni Mitchell in high school. The class was Introduction to Agricultural Science or something like that and Mr. Evans was our teacher. We spent a short period of time on conservation and climate science, but I distinctly remember him playing “Big Yellow Taxi” for us. I also remember being entranced by the hippie woman with the guitar whose voice was at once a hymn, a hallowed thing, and a harbinger.

I decided then and there that if the best tracks from Blue couldn’t make a believer out of her, she’d just have to remain an apostate while I belted it out in the choir.

I am not going to lie. Joni Mitchell is an acquired taste. Not everyone likes her music. My mom cringes every time I play “Urge for Going” or “Blue”. I even tried to convert her with “River” but that also proved ineffective. I decided then and there that if the best tracks from Blue couldn’t make a believer out of her, she’d just have to remain an apostate while I belted it out in the choir. The truth is, even I had to listen to her for a number of years before I really understood her particular mystique, and I owe most of that to repeat listens of “Woodstock”.

Really, if you’ve never listened to Joni Mitchell, do yourself a favor and dive right in anywhere. Now is as good a time as any because on November 12th she’s releasing Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971), which you can preorder wherever you get your music, but preferably from your local record store, if you’re lucky enough to have one.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s