The Circle Game
Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
– by Joni Mitchell
The everlasting, all-embracing, ebullient circle game is manoeuvring it all so well. The cycle of life, the movement of planets and the galaxies, the journey of every individual swivel beautifully.
Joni Mitchel’s beautiful song The Circle Game from the album Ladies of the Canyon is a reminder, I feel, to remember the rules of the circle game.
A game in which we all are participating no matter how forgetful we may be.
Stories have been working from the very beginning to prove the presence of the circle game; every story that was ever written or will be written becomes complete when it forms a neat circle in the end.
It could be a linear circle with a clear structure like Macbeth or it could be a non-linear circle that nicely and freely waits for its completion in the viewers’ mind just like this song.
“So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty/ Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true/ There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty/ Before the last revolving year is through…”
The Boy is twenty and life has happened; he has fallen but is hopeful, and there is still time for him to give it another try. And life goes on.
The circling theory of Karma – what goes around comes around, the circling nature of the first law of the thermodynamics – energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it only changes its form, the ancient Ouroboros symbol, for instance, all voice the same truth.
“We’re captive on the carousel of time/ We can’t return, we can only look behind/ From where we came/ And go round and round and round/ In the circle game.”
“Captive on the carousel of time”, curtly this hits the mind and the realisation disturbs languidly.
Like a plaything, like “the painted ponies”, we are tied to the carousel of time. And the only way forward is to continue.
Moving forward not painted-pony-like, limited and not captive every individual in this life holds the power to swivel in her fashion.
Destined and yet free, that is how life is, by nature paradoxical.
We are not separate, we are one with the circle game, we add to its beauty as we go round and round and together we are moving towards its never-ending end.
Listen to this track now –
(Read the lyrics here.)
- Of Monsters and Men and This Journey
- She Wanted Storms
- Godard… Breathless and Alive
- Ninety-Nine Times out of a Hundred
- A Telltale Heart’s Secret