Oh, to live on Sugar MountainI was very touched with Neil's Sugar Mountain*. During my college years, I often sang the haunting lyrics along with the record on the turntable. The scenes of a joyful, enchanted carnival amusement of another easily joins one own's appreciation of youthful past visits to form a seamless scene. When away from the music, the lines melded in my mind as "the painted ponies and the coloured balloons". The painted ponies were Joni Mitchell's. They knew each other in Winnipeg. From his song, she was inspired to compose on the same theme, Circle Game. The scenes of a joyful, enchanted carnival amusement of another easily joins one own's appreciation of youthful past visits to form a seamless scene, but it is gone for you, and it will be gone for the others, there, when their time commences.
With the barkers and the coloured balloons,
You can't be twenty on Sugar Mountain
Though you're thinking that you're leaving there too soon,
You're leaving there too soon
And the seasons they go round and roundThere remains a poignant pang, where the tune and lyrics revolve in a sonic calliopic loop. There is a compelling beauty that draws one to enduring recollection. And further, it is not only 1960s North America that has done this. There is Heine's, Die Lorelei which has a siren singing (beckoning sailors to death), and the wistful rememberer whom can not forget. At the beginning, Heine expresses the same sure grasp of the embrace.
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We cant return we can only look behind
From where we came
Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten,________________
Daß ich so traurig bin;
Ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten,
Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.
I know not, what it should mean,
That I am so sad;
A fairy tale out of the olden times,
(Which) will not go from my mind.
*There was a hobo song, that was greatly cleaned up, to become a children's song, Big Rock Candy Mountain. The idea of a marvelous land of joy and plenty was mediæval. It showed up in Carmina Burana and elsewhere as the land of Cockaigne.