4 Meanings
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I Had A King Lyrics

I had a king in a tenement castle
Lately he's taken to painting the pastel walls brown
He's taken the curtains down
He's swept with the broom of contempt
And the rooms have an empty ring
He's cleaned with the tears
Of an actor who fears for the laughter's sting-

I can't go back there anymore
You know my keys won't fit the door
You know my thoughts don't fit the man
They never can they never can

I had a king dressed in drip-dry and paisley
Lately he's taken to saying I'm crazy and blind
He lives in another time
Ladies in gingham still blush
While he sings them of wars and wine
But I in my leather and lace
I can never become that kind -


I had a king in a salt-rusted carriage
Who carried me off to his country for marriage too soon
Beware of the power of moons
There's no one to blame
No there's no one to name as a traitor here
The king's on the road
And the queen's in the grove till the end of the year-

Song Info
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
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Submitted on
Mar 14, 2002
4 Meanings
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ahhh the line of beauty: "there is no one to blame, no there's no one to name as a traitor here..." blessed understanding!

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beware of the power of moons!

Oh, but sometimes the light Can be so hard to find At least the moon at the window The thieves left that behind.

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I have returned to Joni Mitchell's music after being enraptured by it during the 70's. I now consider her a genius, a female strength (versus feminist), a Muse, and a rival of Dylan in songwriting, let alone her instrumentation, vocalization, and variety of musical genres. I am contemplating going through Joni Mitchell's songs and interpreting them like poems, separate from any sociological or biographical reference. That said, it is so ironic to me that the first song on her first album speaks so much about her first marriage and the independence offered to women at the time of its composition. It is almost a launching pad, announcing her escape from the past and journey into the future when she leaves "the grove." I'll add my analysis of the lyrics a bit later but just want to see if anyone else is still active in this area. Thanks.

My Interpretation
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"The king's on the road And the queen's in the grove till the end of the year"

Here's another line that just grabs me. The word 'grove' brings up a peaceful and restorative image. So she's recovering from the broken relationship in her grove, but come the "end of the year" she'll be back at it, despite her frustrations.

My Interpretation
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