Song Lyrics


by Joni Mitchell

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He comes for conversation
I comfort him sometimes
Comfort and consultation
He knows that's what he'll find

I bring him apples and cheeses
He brings me songs to play
He sees me when he pleases
I see him in cafes

And I only say hello
And turn away before his lady knows
How much I want to see him

She removes him like a ring
To wash her hands
She only brings him out to show her friends
I want to free him

Secrets and sharing soda
That's how our time began
Love is a story told to a friend
It's second hand

But I'll listen to his questions
I'll give my answers when they're found
He says she keeps him guessing
But I know she keeps him down

She speaks in sorry sentences
Miraculous repentances
I don't believe her

Tomorrow he will come to me
And he'll speak his sorrow endlessly and ask me why
Why can't I leave her?

He comes for conversation
I comfort him sometimes
Comfort and consultation
He knows that's what he'll find

(Late 1967 version, which stayed largely the same throughout the Song To A Seagull sessions.:)

...I bring him grapes and cheeses...

He's acted down all evening
Maybe it's over now
Maybe she's finally leaving
I'd like to show her now

But friends are friends forever
So hard to change their role
Laugh with him, cry together
Hey friend, it feels so whole

But you keep your feelings deep inside
You talk of them and think of pride
Now is the wrong time
But maybe if a dozen days are warm and right
You'll hear him say "I've wanted you baby for such a long time"

He comes for conversation
I comfort him sometimes
Comfort and consultation
He knows that's what he'll find

© October 16, 1967; Gandalf Pub Co, then April 1, 1968; Siquomb Publishing Corp (as 'He Comes For Conversation')


Joni's introduction to the song on October 12, 1967 at The Second Fret in Philadelphia:
Sometimes a best friend won't tell a best friend really anything near the truth because they don't know it themselves. This is a song about a triangle.

Transcriptions of Conversation

Conversation has been recorded by 36 other artists

  • Aubrey Johnson & Randy Ingram (from "Play Favorites" - 2022)
  • Be Slow (- 2010)
  • Benanti, Laura  (from "In Constant Search of the Right Kind of Attention (Live at 54 Below)" - 2013)
  • Big Yellow Taxi (from "Unknown And Famous Songs Of Joni Mitchell" - 2006)
  • Brinton, Melissa (from "Born With The Moon" - 2018)
  • Circles (from "This Troubled Land" - 2016)
  • Clark, Anni (from "A Light For Liza" - 1998)
  • Colvin, Shawn  (from "(Live Performance)" - 1975)
  • Cullen, Lori (- )
  • Dawn Derow & Sean Harkness (from "Music 4 Two" - 2014)
  • Ebsen, Kiki (from "Kiki Ebsen Cool Songs, Vol. 2 - The Music of Joni Mitchell" - 2017)
  • Erickson, Marissa  (from "Joni Mitchell Cover Comp" - 2020)
  • Farrell, Carey Anne (from "Take What's Mine: Covers 2016" - 2016)
  • Hardoon, Doris (from "Second Folk Album" - )
  • Klaudia & Rico With The Flying Helmets (from "At The Same Place Twice In Life" - 1996)
  • Lagan, Mandy (from "The Joni Book I" - 2016)
  • Maggie Hollinbeck & Graham Sobelman (from "Another Shade Of Blue" - 2014)
  • Margot, Gillian  (from "Black Butterfly" - 2015)
  • McAlmont, David (from "McAlmont" - 1994)
  • miscellaneous owl (from "December 2021: Joni Mitchell" - 2022)
  • Moss, Ann (from "Currents" - 2013)
  • Napkin Trio (from "Napkin Trio Plays Joni" - 2017)
  • Nereide (from "Nereide sings Joni Mitchell" - 2010)
  • Restless Wind (- 2004)
  • Robot, Claudia (from "Ich Bin Ein Roboter" - 2019)
  • Rodriguez, Nicholas  (from "The First Time... " - 2015)
  • Rundlett, Gail (from "Just In Time" - 1985)
  • Sally Barker - Joni Mitchell Project (from "Conversation: The Joni Tapes" - 2010)
  • Shadows and Light (- )
  • The Nep Tunes (- )
  • The Practicers (from "Smooth & Raw" - 2000)
  • Tinkerscuss (from "A History Of Tinkerscuss, Vol. 2" - 2023)
  • Volker Niehusmann & Christiane Weber (from "Another Blue" - 1997)
  • Wainwright, Sloan  (from "Uncovering" - 2015)
  • Wheatfield (from "Wheatfield" - 2004)
  • Yoko Miwa Trio (from "Keep Talkin'" - 2019)
  • [more information on recordings by other artists]


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PaulieB on

I thought this song was about John Philips.