“I am a painter first, and a musician second.” ~ Joni Mitchell
Last Friday, writer2b featured Suzanne Vega’s song, “A Small Blue Thing.”
I had never heard it before, but I loved the lyrics, so I used them as one of my writing prompts this week. Focusing on blue made me think of Joni Mitchell, whom I consider to be the finest female singer-songwriter of our time, and it made me want to see more of her art.
I was happy to find a collection of her work online. Here are two pieces I especially like, with a song to go with them. Joni’s comment:
“This and the next drawing are of the kitchen table I had in Laurel Canyon, one done in the day and the other at night. It was a delicious room; the windows were big and the trees were quite a bit below so it was literally like living in a tree house. I’ve always been drawn to color; I had a bright blue salad bowl, a purple candlestick and very vivid hand-embroidered place mats. Everything was folk-artish as a matter of fact, so I guess my aesthetics were still quite related to folk music.”
“Table Laurel Canyon I,” Felt pen on paper, 1969
by Joni Mitchell
Come to the dinner gong
The table is laden high
Fat bellies and hungry little ones
Tuck your napkins in
And take your share
Some get the gravy
And some get the gristle
Some get the marrow bone
And some get nothing
Though there’s plenty to spare
“Table Laurel Canyon II,” Felt pen on paper, 1969
Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten the wine. “A Case of You” is my favorite song from Blue (1971), supposedly written about Joni’s affair with Leonard Cohen. Like the rest of the album, it is personal, poetic, confessional, real and true. It always slays me.
Oh I am a lonely painter
I live in a box of paints
I’m frightened by the devil
And I’m drawn to those ones that ain’t afraid
I remember that time you told me you said
‘Love is like touching souls’
Surely you touched mine
‘Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time
Oh, you’re in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet . . .
“Taming the Tiger,” Oil on canvas, 1997
Joni’s official website features song lyrics, a gallery of paintings, and a great timeline of her life and accomplishments.
For the full palette of today’s poems, check in with Kelly Fineman at Writing and Ruminating.
To read any of the 2008 Poetry Friday posts you may have missed on this blog, click here.
Don something blue, and have a great weekend!!