"The Dawntreader" as written by and Joni Mitchell....
Peridots and periwinkle blue medallions
Gilded galleons spilled across the ocean floor
Treasure somewhere in the sea and he will find where
Never mind their questions there's no answer for
The roll of the harbor wake
The songs that the rigging makes
The taste of the spray he takes
And he learns to give
He aches and he learns to live
He stakes all his silver
On a promise to be free
Mermaids live in colonies
All his sea dreams come to me

City satins left at home I will not need them
I believe him when he tells of loving me
Something truthful in the sea your lies will find you
Leave behind your streets he said and come to me
Come down from the neon nights
Come down from the tourist sights
Run down till the rain delights you
You do not hide
Sunlight will renew your pride
Skin white by skin golden
Like a promise to be free
Dolphins playing in the sea
All his sea dreams come to me

Seabird I have seen you fly above the pilings
I am smiling at your circles in the air
I will come and sit by you while he lies sleeping
Fold your fleet wings I have brought some dreams to share
A dream that you love someone
A dream that the wars are done
A dream that you tell no one but the gray sea
They'll say that you're crazy
And a dream of a baby
Like a promise to be free
Children laughing out to sea
All his sea dreams come to me

Lyrics submitted by Nelly

"The Dawntreader" as written by Joni Mitchell

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Dawntreader song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThis is my best Joni song. She paints such a wonderful picture of a life on the sea. It also echoes the ideas put accross in Song to a Seagul - that man can never be completely happy living in nature or in the cities.

    While the sea life has enchanted first her lover and then her, she is not completely satisfied because she wishes to be a mother yet the sea is no place to raise a child and "they'll say" she's "crazy" to want to have a baby out at sea. His sea dreams have taken priority over her dreams of a normal life on the land.
    tally1302on September 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhy hasn't anyone commented on this song?!? It's so gorgeous and more than slightly haunting. Easily one of her best early tracks.
    pumkinhedon November 07, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song too! Her voice sounds so melencholy and enchanting. I especially like the line "And he learns to give, He aches and he learns to live".
    The sailing imagery is also beautiful and reminds me of my boyfriend who sails a lot.
    Teenagemiseryon November 22, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of the few songs in the world that I think can objectively be called sublime. Her voice and the music are so eerily beautiful here, and the words seem to be a promise of better times to come.
    epiwooshon October 16, 2014   Link

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