The Circle Game

Again, I’m letting someone else speak for me – this time it’s Joni Mitchell for the Circle prompt at One Single Impression. But yet again, this song is what came to my mind immediately (and no idea or image I felt like expanding on myself).

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 through 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


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


– Joni Mitchell

(from Ladies of the Canyon, 1970)

Watch and listen to Joni Mitchell perform Circle Game in 1966:

About James Steerforth

I am an author of poetry and fiction, translator and painter who loves to have fun with borrowed feathers.
This entry was posted in Life, Lyrics, Music, Nature, Poetry, Stellar poetry, Time and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Circle Game

  1. maryt says:

    Hi James, Joni Mitchell’s lyrics are sensitive and lovely… I wish you had written a haiku. 🙂

  2. meeyauw says:

    I have recently been hearing that song with new ears and it is more meaningful now to me than it ever was before. Thank you.

    (PS: James, I know that people have wanted to comment here but don’t know they have to register. Please don’t take the lack of comments as lack of interest or caring. K? 🙂

  3. teric says:

    Beautiful words!

  4. pieceofpie says:

    have always enjoyed joni mitchell.. she was way ahead of her time…back then… thanks for the video… she was soooo young.. back then

  5. AuraGem says:

    Joni Mitchell has a voice that is the spirit yearning in all of us. Her voice tone has always haunted me!


  6. aanondo says:

    Hi James,

    That makes a lot of us who appreciate ‘Circle Game’.
    I have her on my blog today.
    There is another number there – Big Yellow Taxi.

    Listen to it when you get the time.


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