those who know how to conquer invisibly

S.O.S. 1995 Leonard Cohen Take a long time with your anger,sleepy head.Don’t waste it in riots.Don’t tangle it with ideas.The Devil won’t let me speak,will only let me hintthat you are a slave,your misery a deliberate policyof those in whose thrall you suffer,and who are sustainedby your misfortune.The atrocities over there,the interior paralysis over here—PleasedContinue reading “those who know how to conquer invisibly”

your struggle and your suffering is the same as everyone else’s

On Old Ideas, Cohen sang of wanting to write “a manual for living with defeat.” Cohen says: I wish I could really come up with something ’cos we are all really living with defeat and failure and disappointment and bewilderment, these dark forces that modify our lives. Everyone is engaged in a mighty struggle forContinue reading “your struggle and your suffering is the same as everyone else’s”

you must not ask for so much

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch He said to me, “You must not ask for so much.” And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door She cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?” Lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On a Wire” (recorded 26 September 1968 in Nashville and includedContinue reading “you must not ask for so much”

where you want your slave to go

Good stuff from an honest man. These are the lyrics to another Leonard Cohen song from his album Old Ideas. “Show Me The Place” by Leonard Cohen Show me the place Where you want your slave to go Show me the place I’ve forgotten I don’t know Show me the place For my head isContinue reading “where you want your slave to go”

brief elaboration of a tube

I’ve been enjoying Leonard Cohen’s recent album, Old Ideas. Here are the lyrics from one song, first published as a poem in The New Yorker (January 23, 2012). Although the title and refrain are in Cohen’s voice, I hear all the rest of this as a wry commentary by Cohen’s Creator (who uses him asContinue reading “brief elaboration of a tube”

the world is like an oilpress

Thus the world is like an oilpress: under pressure. If you are the dregs of the oil you are carried away through the sewer; if you are genuine oil you will remain in the vessel. But to be under pressure is inevitable. Observe the dregs, observe the oil. Pressure takes place ever in the world,Continue reading “the world is like an oilpress”

broken Hallelujah

A couple lines from Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” I heard it recently from a friend and teacher. With several versions during Cohen’s long career and recordings by some 50 artists, the lyrics seem to vary slightly each time. It’s not the laughter of someone who claims to have seen the light No, it’s a cold, andContinue reading “broken Hallelujah”