Both Sides Now

“I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
from up and down, and still somehow
it’s clouds illusions I recall.
I really don’t know clouds at all.”
Recorded by Judy Collins (1967), written by Joni Mitchell


We lived in a dream—and she sang of clouds,

in the nicotine haze of a small coffee shop,

on a college campus, away from the crowds

protesting by day against war non-stop,


—in innocence, and Indian summer days,

about to emerge from our birds’ egg shells,

and abandon our selfish, insouciant ways

for the cynical wisdom of 19-year-old selves.


We breathed her words, as if ancient truths,

danced and sang them, and drank them in,

then branded her song like a bloodless tattoo,

beneath our new apostles’ skin,


and burned a generational scar,

the vestige of the death of our youth.

We were to see things for what they are—

the two sides of beauty, the fiction of truth.


On we march through our Autumn  years,

and question illusions of love and peace.

Those dreams are blurred by hatred and fears—

were they but clouds outside of our reach?




#poetry #JudyCollins #folk music #60’s #nostalgia  #jonimitchell

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