Song Lyrics

This Place

by Joni Mitchell

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Sparkle on the ocean
Eagle at the top of a tree
Those crazy crows always making a commotion
This land is home to me.

I was talking to my neighbor
He said, "When I get to heaven, if it is not like this,
I'll just hop a cloud and I'm coming right back down here
Back to this heavenly bliss."

You see those lovely hills
They won't be there for long
They're gonna tear 'em down
And sell them to California
Here come the toxic spills
Miners poking all around
When this place looks like a moonscape
Don't say I didn't warn ya...

Money, money, money...
Money makes the trees come down
It makes mountains into molehills
Big money kicks the wide wide world around.

Black bear in the orchard
At night he's in my garbage cans
He's getting so bold but no one wants to shoot him
He's got a right to roam this land.

I feel like Geronimo
I used to be as trusting as Cochise
But the white eyes lies
He's out of whack with nature
And look how far his weapons reach!

Spirit of the water
Give us all the courage and the grace
To make genius of this tragedy unfolding
The genius to save this place.

© 2007; Crazy Crow Music

Footnotes to This Place

As told to Dan Ouellette:

This song is about preventing a catastrophe.

When I first moved to this place, it was rural and the land's function hadn't been designed. It contained the remnants of the logging industry, and most of the people who lived here were poor. No one knew about it. I knew that sometimes a famous person moving in can start a gentrification movement, so I've been very quiet here for 30-plus years. But now, five miles away on the Sunshine Coast, developers are beginning to clear cut areas so the wealthy people can build houses and bring in their yachts. And then we learned that we don't own the mineral rights to our land. A company started poking around, wanting to tear a mountain down for gravel, then build a giant conveyor belt out into the ocean where the gravel would be picked up by huge diesel-powered boats several times a day. The deal ended up falling through, but it still concerns everyone living here.

The song talks about my neighbor, caretaker and friend, Hans, who says, "When I get to heaven, if it is not like this, I'll just hop a cloud and I'm coming back down here..." It ends with the line about having the "genius to save this place." I remember an actor in L.A. telling me once that everyone's a genius. I didn't agree with him, but then I thought, wouldn't it be nice if that were true.

Guitar Transcriptions of This Place

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RobertaJoan on

This is Joni's most important work.
It is a blueprint of soultion.
Egolessly channeled, pure and frank.
Her sentiments have moved me deeply...

"Spirit of the water
Give us all the courage and the grace
To make genius of this tragedy unfolding
The genius to save this place"

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