Everybody has their favorite Joni Mitchell songs. Okay, not everybody, but stick with me here. For me those songs would include Amelia, A Case of You (but of course), Chinese Cafe, and The Fiddle and the Drum a song from 1969 with lyrics that sound as if they were written in the past few years :
And so once again Oh, America my friend And so once again You are fighting us all And when we ask you why You raise your sticks and cry and we fall Oh, my friend How did you come To trade the fiddle for the drum
You say we have turned Like the enemies you've earned But we can remember All the good things you are And so we ask you please Can we help you find the peace and the star Oh my friend We have all come To fear the beating of your drum
I was an unmarried girl I'd just turned twenty-seven When they sent me to the sisters For the way men looked at me Branded as a jezebel I knew I was not bound for Heaven I'd be cast in shame Into the Magdalene laundries
Most girls come here pregnant Some by their own fathers Bridget got that belly By her parish priest We're trying to get things white as snow All of us woe-begotten-daughters In the steaming stains Of the Magdalene laundries
Prostitutes and destitutes And temptresses like me Fallen women Sentenced into dreamless drudgery Why do they call this heartless place Our Lady of Charity? Oh charity!
These bloodless brides of Jesus If they had just once glimpsed their groom Then they'd know and they'd drop the stones Concealed behind their rosaries They wilt the grass they walk upon They leech the light out of a room They'd like to drive us down the drain At the Magdalene laundries
Peg O'Connell died today She was a cheeky girl A flirt They just stuffed her in a hole! Surely to God you'd think at least some bells should ring! One day I'm going to die here too And they'll plant me in the dirt Like some lame bulb That never blooms come any spring Not any spring No, not any spring Not any spring
And who knew that a "cheeky girl" of 26 would write a sad love song that would, thirty-one years later, become an elegy in live performance?
As Joni sang at the end of Chinese Cafe, after segueing into Unchained Melody:
Time goes - where does the time go I wonder where the time goes