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This song appears on the album 'Clouds'

This song appears on the album 'The Studio Albums, 1968-1979'

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I Think I Understand

by Joni Mitchell   Printer-friendly version of this lyric

Daylight falls upon the path
The forest falls behind
Today I am not prey to dark uncertainty
The shadow trembles in its wrath
I've robbed its blackness blind
And tasted sunlight as my fear came clear to me

I think I understand
Fear is like a wilderland
Stepping stones or sinking sand

Now the way leads to the hills
Above the steeple's chime
Below me sleepy rooftops round the harbor
It's there I'll take my thirsty fill
Of friendship over wine
Forgetting fear but never disregarding her

Oh, I think I understand
Fear is like a wilderland
Stepping stones or sinking sand

Sometimes voices in the night
Will call me back again
Back along the pathway of a troubled mind
When forests rise to block the light
That keeps a traveler sane
I'll challenge them with flashes from a brighter time

Oh, I think I understand
Fear is like a wilderland
Stepping stones and sinking sand


© 1966 Gandalf Publishing Co.

Additional information:

Guitar Transcriptions of I Think I Understand

I Think I Understand has been recorded by 5 others

Deste, Marcel (- )
McCarthy, Jacqui  (from "Courting and Trees" - 2002)
Parker, John (from "PazFest - The New Orleans Tribute to Joni Mitchell at the Howlin' Wolf" - 2002)
Sullivan, Christine (from "Bloom" - 1999)
Wundrock, Tracy (from "Sea Dreams - A Tribute to Joni Mitchell" - 2013)
» [more information on recordings by other artists]

Comments on I Think I Understand

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Poet on 2010-Feb-20 at 21:23:11 GMT-5:
While performing at the Mississippi River Festival in Illinois during July of '69 Joni explains that the inspiration for this song was a character in Tolkien's Tilogy named "Gladriel". To hear the background and inspiration behind this beautiful metaphorical lyric (as well as a good live performance in her 20 something voice) you can go to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLMzZhGCr8c  [ed.]