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New poem "Steer Your Way"

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:54 pm
by Hartmut
Since nobody has posted it yet, I think:

"Steer Your Way" by Leonard Cohen

The New Yorker, Poems, June 20, 2016 Issue

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/ ... nard-cohen

Re: New poem "Steer Your Way"

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:04 pm
by yentek
Lyrics to a new song is my guess? I recall that the magazine published the lyrics to one of the songs on Popular Problems before the album was released - I forget which song.

Re: New poem "Steer Your Way"

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:09 pm
by Hartmut
yentek wrote:Lyrics to a new song is my guess?
Let's hope so.
yentek wrote:I recall that the magazine published the lyrics to one of the songs on Popular Problems before the album was released - I forget which song.
I remember "A Street".

But there was more:

http://www.newyorker.com/contributors/leonard-cohen/all

Re: New poem "Steer Your Way"

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:09 am
by jerry
Very mediocre for LC.

Re: New poem "Steer Your Way"

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:09 am
by WiTS
I was trying to translate this new poem into Chinese to post on my site.

I guess 'As he died to make men holy, let us die to make things cheap' is an update on The Battle Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe.

Mark Twain wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic, Updated" to comment Philippine–American War. What about Leonard's update? on specific war or just general struggle against life? I vote for life.

and anyone can tell me the biblical reference about 'The the Altar and the Mall', 'the fables of Creation and the Fall' and 'the Palaces that rise above the rot' in the first three lines? Thanks a lot.

Re: New poem "Steer Your Way"

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:48 am
by hadley
I love it thanks for posting :D

Re: New poem "Steer Your Way"

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:48 pm
by Hartmut
jerry wrote:Very mediocre for LC.
So pretty good for anybody else?

Re: New poem "Steer Your Way"

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:52 pm
by Hartmut
WiTS wrote: I guess 'As he died to make men holy, let us die to make things cheap' is an update on The Battle Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe.

Mark Twain wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic, Updated" to comment Philippine–American War. What about Leonard's update? on specific war or just general struggle against life? I vote for life.
"let us die to make things cheap"

I think he's talking not about a war, but about using cheap labor under health-threatening circumstances to produce cheap consumer goods.

Re: New poem "Steer Your Way"

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:22 pm
by Jean Fournell
Good lyrics and thanks for sharing!

Biblical references, to my very limited understanding of such matters, seem to be the destruction of the Temple and of the Golden Calf in line 1, and God's creation of the world and Adam's and Eve's expulsion from Eden in line 2.
In line 3 I'd say it's just any palaces built throughout history by, and on, the suffering in the slums.

And there might be another meaning to "let us die to make things cheap", too: let us insist that things be made more easily available for those in need. (Copyrighted medicaments and seeds, for example.)

Anyway, I hope it's on the next album...

Re: New poem "Steer Your Way"

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:55 am
by ursula48
I'm moved to tears by this beautiful poem.... Even if I do not get the meaning of every line, every word.
I do realize how much I miss this man, his magical concerts, his wisdom..............ulla

Re: New poem "Steer Your Way"

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:18 pm
by hadley
"Let us die to make things cheap"

My first thought was that this was about war, though though it could just be me as it reminded me of something I wrote in a song a while ago called Have I got News For You...

"We bombed some place we've never heard of before
It teaches us all new geography
You can only stand back in shock and awe
At just how brazen our puppet masters can be

The oil stocks they started runnin' low
The jets took off for strange exotic seas
Blowin' up dark skinned foreign kids to keep
The price of petrol down for you and me"

Re: New poem "Steer Your Way"

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 6:08 pm
by astranger
Beautiful piece....with this and the new song popping up, me thinks the wheels on the LC new album train are beginning to turn

Re: New poem "Steer Your Way"

Posted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:32 pm
by Diane
Thanks for posting this, Hartmut!

I was trying to make sense of the final stanza, when I noticed the repetition of the word, 'never':

Steer your way, O my heart, though I have no right to ask
To the one who was never never equal to the task
Who knows he’s been convicted, who knows he will be shot
Year by year
Month by month
Day by day
Thought by thought

"To the one who was never never equal to the task", offers two possible, and opposite, interpretations:

1. To the one was was NEVER equal to the task.
2. To the one (One?) who was always equal to the task.

Delicious.

Re: New poem "Steer Your Way"

Posted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:45 pm
by daka
WiTS wrote:I was trying to translate this new poem into Chinese to post on my site.

I guess 'As he died to make men holy, let us die to make things cheap' is an update on The Battle Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe.

Mark Twain wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic, Updated" to comment Philippine–American War. What about Leonard's update? on specific war or just general struggle against life? I vote for life.

and anyone can tell me the biblical reference about 'The the Altar and the Mall', 'the fables of Creation and the Fall' and 'the Palaces that rise above the rot' in the first three lines? Thanks a lot.
My guess is that Leonard is referring to Judeo/Christian Belief systems and the materialism of the modern days in your first query (altar mall creation fall). His reference to "As he died to make men holy" sounds like Jesus Christ taking on the sins of the world and sacrificing his ego/self/I for the benefit of others. "Let us die to make things cheap" is an analogy for destroying our ego/I/self thereby removing the grasping at the 'things' which destroys their value and makes them cheap. Palaces that rise above the rot is the modern day castles or multi-million dollar houses manifesting like mushrooms in the manure of the world. He is quite the poet! I have been wrong before when guessing Leonard's meanings though. He is a Buddhist and so am I, so we share a general view of existence (samsara) and I believe this is the framework for much of his work.

Re: New poem "Steer Your Way"

Posted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:54 pm
by daka
"let us die to make things cheap"

My take on this line is that things only have a value if there is grasping at them. If there is no 'I' no Ego, no 'self' to grasp, there is nothing to be grasped at, therefore it becomes cheap, because it is nor 'desired' . My view of Leonard's journey through life, which has been very spiritual, in spite of his self-deprecating commentaries of denial, has been a successful campaign to dismantle this Ego/I/Self. Would that I could say the same!