If You Could Read My Mind

If you could read my mind love
What a tale my thoughts could tell
Just like an old time movie
‘Bout a ghost from a wishin’ well
In a castle dark or a fortress strong
With chains upon my feet
You know that ghost is me
And I will never be set free
As long as I’m a ghost that you can’t see

If I could read your mind love
What a tale your thoughts could tell
Just like a paperback novel
The kind that drugstores sell
When you reach the part where the heartaches come
The hero would be me
But heroes often fail
And you won’t read that book again
Because the ending’s just too hard to take

I’d walk away like a movie star
Who gets burned in a three way script
Enter number two
A movie queen to play the scene
Of bringing all the good things out in me
But for now love, let’s be real
I never thought I could ACT this way
And I’ve got to say that I just don’t get it
I don’t know where we went wrong
But the feelin’s gone
And I just can’t get it back

If you could read my mind love
What a tale my thoughts could tell
Just like an old time movie
‘Bout a ghost from a wishin’ well
In a castle dark or a fortress strong
With chains upon my feet
But stories always end
And if you read between the lines
You’ll know that I’m just tryin’ to understand
The feelin’s that you lack
I never thought I could feel this way
And I’ve got to say that I just don’t get it
I don’t know where we went wrong
But the feelin’s gone
And I just can’t get it back

Lyrics and music by Gordon Lightfoot, December 1970. 

23 thoughts on “If You Could Read My Mind

  1. I love this song! Also, I like the way he sings it. I haven’t yet heard a cover that convinced me. Best/saddest part:

    When you reach the part where the heartaches come
    The hero would be me
    But heroes often fail

    So simple and so effective.

  2. this song was used on a show called trigger happy tv; a hidden camera show by dom joly; very funny, this song was played when a ‘french portrait artist’ – drawing a member of the public who sat for him – realised he couldn’t actually draw so ran off across trafalgar square leaving the sitter not a little bemused….it was best not to think what might be going through the artist’s head…

  3. Saw Gordon Lightfoot in concert several times over the years, and, damn, the man puts on one fabulous show. This is one of my favorites, too. He doesn’t do much that isn’t great. Thanks for the wonderful read through.

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