"Refuge Of The Roads" as written by and Joni Mitchell....
I met a friend of spirit
He drank and womanized
And I sat before his sanity
I was holding back from crying
He saw my complications
And he mirrored me back simplified
And we laughed how our perfection
Would always be denied
"Heart and humor and humility"
He said "Will lighten up your heavy load"
I left him for the refuge of the roads

I fell in with some drifters
Cast upon a beach town
Winn Dixie cold cuts and highway hand me downs
And I wound up fixing dinner
For them and Boston Jim
I well up with affection
Thinking back down the roads to then
The nets were overflowing
In the Gulf of Mexico
They were overflowing in the refuge of the roads

There was spring along the ditches
There were good times in the cities
Oh, radiant happiness
It was all so light and easy
Till I started analyzing
And I brought on my old ways
A thunderhead of judgment was
Gathering in my gaze
And it made most people nervous
They just didn't want to know
What I was seeing in the refuge of the roads

I pulled off into a forest
Crickets clicking in the ferns
Like a wheel of fortune
I heard my fate turn, turn turn
And I went running down a white sand road
I was running like a white-assed deer
Running to lose the blues
To the innocence in here
These are the clouds of Michelangelo
Muscular with gods and sungold
Shine on your witness in the refuge of the roads

In a highway service station
Over the month of June
Was a photograph of the earth
Taken coming back from the moon
And you couldn't see a city
On that marbled bowling ball
Or a forest or a highway
Or me here least of all
You couldn't see these cold water restrooms
Or this baggage overload
Westbound and rolling taking refuge in the roads


Lyrics submitted by ruben

"Refuge of the Roads" as written by Joni Mitchell

Lyrics © Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing

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Refuge Of The Roads song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentTo me, this is the ultimate road trip song. It's essentially about a person who society disturbs and who disturbs society as well. As a result, she has this semi-desperate need to travel, and she finds, well, refuge in the roads. It's that simple.
    pumkinhedon October 19, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentJacos bass, almost steals the song, but its a Fort Knox of a song, impregnable, nobody can steal this its so profound lyrically and so perfectly captures resigned melancholy and the acquisition of true wisdom through experience. Its a song that will guide you throughout your whole life, as is the rest of the hejira album, which IMHO has never been surpassed as a document about enlightenment.
    sdevwevon October 26, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentJoni was studying with Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche at the time. He is the "friend of spirit, who drank and womanized".
    sock123on February 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation"Hejira" isn't just a road trip. It refers to the prophet Muhammad's flight from suffering in Mecca to refuge in Medina. I think there's a reason Joni used "Hejira" instead of "road trip". Throughout the entire album, there are references to traveling and running away, yes. But she's running from something in specific: love! She's running from her suffering and finding refuge in the roads, just as Muhammad ran from Mecca to Medina.
    Dionysuson January 12, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis travelling theme runs throughout Hejira, the album in which this song appears. Apparently Joni Mitchell was actually on a road trip herself at the time, and every night she would sit down and write a new song about her experiences. In my opinion it's one of the most beautifully written albums ever, and this song is the perfect ending to it.
    homildoon May 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYup... Hejira is definitely all about a road trip. The word "Hejira" essentially means "road trip." But, technically, it means a journey, specifically as a transliteration of the Arabic word hijra.
    threearmedmanon March 21, 2008   Link

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