The voices in Nightingale

Leonard Cohen's recent albums - share your views with others!
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david birkett
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Nightingale lyrics

Postby david birkett » Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:00 am

I loved this song as soon as I heard it on Dear Heather, and it was interesting to hear Anjani's take on it later.

There is to my mind a strong case for an alternative intepretation to the 'nightingale' having died, namely that something has come to impede the listener's ability to hear the nightingale's song. The 'forest' closing round the bird could be this barrier building up - the listener is becoming distanced from nature and its sounds and experiences (a reverse on 'The falcon cannot hear the falconer').

As with all great writing, of course, there are layers, ambiguities and nuances of meaning which do not faciliate anything like a 'pure' or 'true' reading.

What a shame the title track is such a failure. Still, at least the man is still experimenting at 70 plus.

Peace to all -

David
The Ogre does what ogres can,
Deeds quite impossible for Man,
But one prize is beyond his reach:
The Ogre cannot master speech.
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Diane
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Postby Diane » Mon Jan 22, 2007 2:46 pm

I like this song very much too, but not the one on DH. I can't get over the incongruity of the jolly tune with those words.

Hope the biking's going well, David. Wrap up warm.

Diane
lazariuk
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Re: Nightingale lyrics

Postby lazariuk » Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:05 pm

david birkett wrote:I loved this song as soon as I heard it on Dear Heather, and it was interesting to hear Anjani's take on it later.

There is to my mind a strong case for an alternative intepretation to the 'nightingale' having died, namely that something has come to impede the listener's ability to hear the nightingale's song. The 'forest' closing round the bird could be this barrier building up - the listener is becoming distanced from nature and its sounds and experiences (a reverse on 'The falcon cannot hear the falconer').
You can understand, I think, where Leonard is going with this song by knowing the role that the nightingale played in the wonderful Sufi story called "The Conference of the Birds"

If you are interested you should search it out.

The geometry of that song is what interests me. I think the singer would be singing it with his back to the one he is hoping will also hear it and facing westwards but he is not singing it to that one.
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Manna
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Postby Manna » Sat Feb 10, 2007 4:10 am

I don't know if any of what I think of the song is correct. I can only describe what I like to think about it.

I believe it is about someone who died. There are a few clues to support this like "rest in peace."

Also, I like to speculate based on the music that it was this folky type of music that was central to the relationship between LC & "Nightingale." Remeber when L was a folk musician?

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