Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
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Hartmut
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby Hartmut » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:06 pm

Hartmut wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:54 pm
The line "working for the Yankee dollar" is a quote from the Andrews Sisters song "Rum and Coca Cola" (1945).
For the sake of accuracy: I suspect that phrase has been in use well before the "Rum and Coca Cola" song.
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Jean Fournell
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby Jean Fournell » Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:42 pm

AlanM wrote: [...] Leonard was a very good observer of horses and particularly their relationship with man.
Alan, on page 9 of this thread, there is a photo of Leonard Cohen riding onto the stage on a horse he got somewhere because the ordinary ways of transport failed. That means, that horse and rider had known each other for something like an hour or so.
He is riding with his reins in contact with the horse's mouth, but not on tight reins; and he's holding the whip ready in case of trouble, but he's not using it. Nor is he looking at the horse's head, but at the surroundings, against surprises.
And the horse is calm and attentive, even under these completely weird circumstances.
That is certainly a good horse and good horsemanship!

As for Ballad of the Absent Mare, the booklet going with my CD says:
"I owe my thanks to Joshu Sasaki, upon whose exposition of an early Chinese text I based Ballad of the Absent Mare; [...]"
Here some information about the matter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Bulls
Ballad of the Absent Mare is not about a man-woman relationship, but about the realisation of one's own real self, a kind of Eastern "Pilgrim's Progress", and it covers eight of the ten pictures-poems in the wikipedia article.

But a detailed description, methinks, would go somewhat beyond the scope of this thread dedicated to discovering Leonard Cohen's albums. That's why I commented on Avalanche in its own existing thread. For The Window and Ballad of the Absent Mare, there seem to be no threads so far (I'm no good at searching, so I may be wrong), but that doesn't mean they can't be created for in-depth discussions...



Its4inthemorning,
Leonard Cohen most certainly was no sectarian. He was a Jew and a zen monk. In the USA, Rinzaï zen is more widely spread; in Europe, Soto zen. But the differences do not oppose us to each other, they are limited to a few appearances.

One of the great advantages of Buddhism, and especially of zen, is that nobody is required to adopt or abandon any beliefs. Certainly most religions contain or even are a belief system, but this is not a necessity, only a statistic majority. And the other way around, inside Buddhism there are various belief systems (none of them compulsory), so one could say that some parts of Buddhism are religions and other parts are not.

My own use of the term "religious", however, would rather be along the lines of Ballad of the Absent Mare the attempt to comprehend how the different parts of a sentient being are interrelated and how they are interrelated with other sentient and non-sentient beings as well as inside the world as a whole. Such religiosity may be theist (monotheist, polytheist, pantheist, panentheist...) or atheist that would be a mere question of the particular situation any given individual would be in.
its4inthemorning wrote: Any set of beliefs that makes us consider and contemplate the gift of life, whether it be from a deity or from the cosmos, is worthy of respect.
I think that sums it up very nicely.
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:03 pm

Edit to add- I only just now saw Jean's post as I was about to send this one. Funny, this happened to him with my post last time. I don't have time to reply to your post now Jean, except to say thank you for writing and answering my question about the Buddhism link before you saw that I asked it!
AlanM post wrote:... But it is a wonderful experience. However the most amazing thing is that there are all these people around me watching Leonard just singing to me!
Oh Alan! Too funny! Thank you for giving me a laugh this morning. As a school employee, the end of the summer gets a little melancholic for me. Your sense of humor was a great way to start one of my last Saturdays before school resumes.

I have to admit that my first reaction on seeing your suggestion for our next subject was an inward, "Uh-oh". It is no secret that I love The Ballad of the Absent Mare. Yes, I am aware that it is said to be based on a Buddhist parable and the path of enlightenment. I like it on the surface of things just fine though, so I haven't looked into what that might mean, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to. This song is already very special to me. It reminds me of the songs my dad would sing in the car, especially my favorite one-- The Strawberry Roan, an old cowboy song. Here is a link of Marty Robbins singing it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMB8SwwKZsw.

When I first heard The Ballad of the Absent Mare, I loved it right away. It was during the time that the dog was shot on the ridge across the river, and it took us 2 days to find him. I remember staring up at the ridge from our place after we had been unsuccessful searching that first day. It was getting dark and the crickets were coming out and it just killed me to think of him up there somewhere, scared and hurt. So when I heard "The crickets are breaking his heart with their song", I was like, yep, I know exactly how that feels.

Not living anywhere long enough and my family being without the means to have a horse of our own, I still managed to have plenty experiences with them. I had a cousin with horses, and we lived with her from time to time. She had a giant palomino who liked to rub little girls off her back by taking them under low limbs in the pine trees. Often in the towns we moved to, there were kids at school who owned horses, and I would gravitate towards them. I especially loved big horses and would request one whenever someone offered to take me riding. I have nowhere near the experience Jean does with them though. Continuing to move often as I became an adult, I abandoned my dream to have a horse of my own. To this day, I have never owned one. We have donkeys by accident really. When we bought this place, I wanted large animals but not having any experience with being responsible for them on our own, we decided to start small and got 3 alpaca. We purchased Sam as their guardian because we were told they are good protectors against cougars and stray dogs. An added attraction to Sam was his size (nearly a Mammoth) and the fact that he is trained for riding. However, the alpacas spit at Sam, and seeing as I had fallen in love with him, I found a good home for the alpaca and kept Sam, getting 2 more donkeys as his companions. Sorry for the long story, but I wanted to explain what I may or may not know about horses.

Alan said for a city boy Leonard was a good observer of horses and I agree. He was also a good observer of the other things that make the West what it is. The entire song paints a picture where, similar to what B4 has said about The Window, you feel that you can smell grass and hear the crickets and see the shades of pink and orange in the sunset and feel the breeze on your face. Beyond the sadness and the yearning and then the turmoil of possession (and the way it transports me physically to his search for the mare), I haven't done much more thinking about this song. I mean, like Alan, I have gotten a sense of how it could relate to the relationship between a man and a woman, but as for anything else, I haven't gone there.

My favorite lines besides the one about the crickets are:
"And the day caves in and the night is all wrong"
"..bent down the fern, broke open the grass"
"And the steam's coming off her, she's huge and she's shy"
"And there is no time, but there's day and night"
and "Leonard... just let it go by"

Thank you Alan for the links. I was familiar with the Jennifer Warnes version from B4, and I really like it too. I may have to get her album Famous Blue Raincoat. I wasn't familiar with the Perla Batella version though, and you are right about the hair standing up thing. I had not heard of her album, Bird on a Wire. I will have to check that out as well.

And thank you Alan for suggesting Ballad of the Absent Mare after all. I would like to hear what others think about it, maybe they could even tell me what it has to do with Buddhist enlightenment. I can't promise to get it though... I don't know much about Buddhism, except that I do try to read my copy of the I Ching once in a while.

Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:02 pm

I have a confession to make which I guess will shock some of you....I have NEVER been on a horse in my life! It's not as though I ever had any fear of horses, or that I grew up in a city, it's just that an opportunity never really presented itself. (I have petted horses, does that count for something?) BTW Jean, I enjoyed your professional insights about the photo showing Leonard riding in France in 1970.

I listened to the Marty Robbins song, it struck me that, with all the verses, it would not be the easiest song to sing, it must have been a favorite of Vickie's father to have learned it. Whoever posted that video added drawings telling the story, they were well-done. I always envy people who can draw. A few weeks ago I thought about posting an occasional cartoon drawing for levity, with the theme being Dave enduring Vickie's discovery of Leonard Cohen. The first one was going to show Dave coming in the door saying, "Honey, I'm home," and Vickie interrupting him saying, "What do you think Avalanche means?" I fooled with this for awhile, but even using stick figures, I could not come up with anything remotely presentable. Oh well.

Vickie, just a reminder, the eclipse is Monday, it should start about 9:00 am where you are. Hope it doesn't upset your donkeys!

Good weekend to all.

4
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
2017 NOVEMBER 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:28 am

It’s lovely to wake up and see everyone’s contributions here. A little trivia below.

At one of the 1985 concerts LC starts playing some chords not unlike the start to Famous Blue Raincoat, stops and then says “no, there’s something so humiliating as forgetfulness of the song descends upon me, it’s best to move on to another song” and he immediately sings without any further intro musical or verbal, “Say a prayer for the cowboy”.....

I love the Spanish flamenco intro he plays to this song on some of the 1979 concerts.

And it seems that one of the lines I chose for one of Vickie’s Diplomas was an insightful choice! I also wanted to include it because “And the crickets are breaking his heart with their song” is my favourite one from BOTAM.

Oh and btw – Still on things equine, ever since I can remember my sister has been in love with horses from childhood. When she got married she finally realised her ultimate desire. They now have many horses!
Vividly now remembering my own experience; first time on a horse that I remember was when I was only four years old. It was tied up to a neighbour’s fence in his land. I climbed up the fence and onto the bare back of this brown horse happily sitting there pretending I was a cowgirl when the neighbour came racing out of his house screaming at me to get off the horse because I could get killed. Unbeknown to me he had just finished breaking it in. You could say the urgency in his voice was very much because I had also enticed his son who was only three years old to join me! It was a long way to the ground from such height for a little body – in my haste to obey him I forgot all about the fence! I was more frightened of him than of the horse which sat there reasonably quietly so I slid down the horse’s tail while holding onto it! His son, now also scared by the unfortunate turn of events, just sat there howling and sobbing until he was removed by his father. Further screaming about how I could have been kicked etc and I went crying to my mother who fixed everything as only mothers can do!

its4inthemorning wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:02 pm
A few weeks ago I thought about posting an occasional cartoon drawing for levity, with the theme being Dave enduring Vickie's discovery of Leonard Cohen
Ah 4, in Aussie strine words - just aveago! And also to everyone avagoodweegend ;-)
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:19 am

Jean-
The Wikipedia article makes the similarities between BOTAM and The Ten Bulls so clear (the hoof prints, the grass bent down, the high plateau, etc.) that it cannot be denied Leonard borrowed the idea for this song from that. I suppose you are right… it is about the search for enlightenment.

As for the Zen thing, I follow that searching for enlightenment is like searching for the bull or the mare. When they find the beast, they force it under their control (with the whip and stuff), and they “become one” with it through the manifestation of that desire to have it. Once they have it, the whip and even the rein are not needed anymore. Here is where I get confused though. From the little I know of Zen, I thought that to become one with something was to surrender to it (I have read a couple of Leonard’s interviews where he talked about the concept of being of service and of surrender). However, I don’t see the cowboy surrendering to the mare in this song or the Zen guy giving any quarter to the ox. In fact, it seemed all about control. And then the Zen story says that the ox succumbed because he was well trained (not sure what that signifies).
Maybe I don’t understand the whole enlightenment thing. I have always wondered--- enlightened to what? I feel that accepting that we are graced by being here is enough. I had to look up what being sentient or non-sentient means. Of course we all are related. Who cares how or why? It is as simple as the web of life, right? I just read what I wrote, and I hope it doesn’t sound like I am arguing (Yikes). I haven’t really thought about this particular thing that much, but I have never liked complications. (This would be a good time to insert the “My Brain Hurts” video from Monty Python)

I do hope you know that I really appreciate your comments here Jean. You are giving me some insight into aspects of Leonard and other things that I am curious about. Thank you so much. I have one other question about you horses… if you always take both of your horses on your ride, do you always ride one and lead the other, or do you switch off?

4--- I would love to see one of the cartoons you suggested. I read what you said to my husband regarding his walking through the door and my asking him about Avalanche, and he laughed and said that you were pretty much on target there. He has used the word “obsessed” a couple times regarding me and Leonard Cohen, but he has been very tolerant. I love that you understand how it might be affecting him!
I can’t believe that you have not ridden a horse! You must remedy that forthwith! As for The Strawberry Roan, yes there are many verses. Some cowboy songs are like that I think. It takes a while to tell a good story! For anyone that doesn’t have the patience to listen to the whole things, it is basically about that horse that cannot be broke, but the possibility is always there.

Yes the eclipse is a HUGE deal here!! I have heard that some towns in the path are already running out of gas and warning people not to show up without a full tank. Locals are used to considering their gas tank, but people from other areas aren’t. As for our donkeys, they will not look up to the sun, so no fear of their eyes, but they will probably bray for dinner… thinking it is time for that.

B4- I loved your story of the neighbor and the horse’s tail that you slid down--- and that you brought a 3-year-old with you! I also had to look up the word ‘strine’ regarding the Australian accent. I am a sucker for an accent, and I would very much love to meet you and Alan (if he has an accent as well… although he said he was from somewhere else) and listen to you talk! My favorite cousin in Canada has a husband with a very strong Western Canada accent, and he is so much fun to listen to.

Bottom line on the Ballad of the Absent Mare….How much more romantic it would be if it were an analogy of the search for a relationship between a man and a woman. Or even the simpler search of a man for his horse. But since it is apparently a search for enlightenment (according to Leonard himself), I am guessing it is about all of those things, because at the crux of it, they all work the same way... I think.

Sorry for the long post and thanks again for your input on all of this.
Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:24 am

This is probably overkill but here's some previous links to my posts about this song on the forum.
I was reminded when Jean mentioned about the photo I posted with my Cowboy Theme post that the info about this song's birth is just above the white horse. And Jean thanks for your insight into LC's riding skills!

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=37392&p=365047&hili ... es#p365047
it’s on page nine of this thread

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=35851&p=356297&hili ... es#p356292
and here too

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=30488&p=289322&hili ... es#p289322
all of it here and much more plus a direct link to Jennifer's site

I'm sure there's more somewhere else too but that'lldofornow! enjoy!

Vickie, I don't speak strine (but ockers do, hehe!) just ordinary Aussie and Alan still has an Irish accent :)
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:40 pm

B4-

Thank you for the links. I like Jennifer Warnes even more now. What she said about "leaving the building" and Leonard and grace is exactly how I feel and what happens to me when I listen to him. It was perfect.

I knew it was probably through you that I had first heard of the 10 bulls. Although I have read about it many times since in the biographies.

I looked up an online dictionary of Aussie strine because I had to find out what an ocker was ... quite an extensive bit of slang you have down under!

Vickie
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Jean Fournell
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby Jean Fournell » Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:41 pm

Well, there's a lot going on here.

Thanks for your links, B4real, especially the last one!

vlcoats wrote: I have one other question about you horses… if you always take both of your horses on your ride, do you always ride one and lead the other, or do you switch off?
Here I have a problem with "switch off". You are obviously not asking whether I kill my horses, but I don't know what you do mean.
From the context, it might be whether at times I ride, and at other times I walk with them. In which case the answer is, Yes, I do walk with them, but I can't run with them, nor walk long distances, and so I ride much more than I walk.

vlcoats wrote: As for the Zen thing [...]
Vickie, of the two rules (not to damage the body not to damage the mind), let me underline the second one: Don't make your brain hurt more than reasonably unreasonable.

Your intuitions are perfectly correct, and you are not quibbling. You are asking justified and decent questions, and I'll try to give justified and decent answers. Maybe not exactly item per item, but then I think it's rather the whole picture that needs clarifying.
The confusion is being brought about by the rational attempt of the Ox-herding pictures.
So, first of all: They are not some roadmap to enlightenment, just as John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress is not some roadmap to God.

If you give them a second reading, this time with the ego being the ox (instead of the enlightenment), maybe that will take off the edge already.

vlcoats wrote: I feel that accepting that we are graced by being here is enough. I had to look up what being sentient or non-sentient means. Of course we all are related. Who cares how or why? It is as simple as the web of life, right?
Right.
In theory.
And zen is practice.
The problem with simple things is, that they are difficult. Latin, for example, is a very simple language; and DOS is a very simple computer system and yet everybody prefers the highly complicated English language, and highly complicated graphic user interfaces.
Because they are easy to use.

There are many people who have difficulties coping with simple things.
Yes, "accepting that we are graced by being here is enough" and perfectly so!
But only very few people are able to really accept that.
24 hours per day. In the grinding wheels of wear and tear, and when overwhelming problems, and fear, eat up our soul.
When we would like to remember that grace, but anyway would be unable to bring it to life.
When we actually need it...

B4real's neighbour, for example, had a cuckold's good luck that, in spite of his uncontrolled screaming and pouring anger all over the place, the horse's instinct of "not to harm the Little Ones" was stronger than the "breaking in" it had undergone. (Totally un-funny replacement term for "teaching", isn't it!)
Attached to the fence, any horse's normal reaction to this artificial panic would pretty likely be that, instead of normal running away made impossible, it would fight against the rope, and the kiddies would fall off and get under the hooves.
That kind of human ego-stuff must be brought under control by anybody who wants to become a horseperson. If Sigmund Freud doesn't agree with me, let him have no horses.

The correct reaction of that man would have been to "go firmly to the window, drink it in" to the window in the frame of events, where he could approach the horse with soothing authority, swallowing the above-mentioned ego-stuff and transcending it:
Exquisite music, wise young horse in glory, / as powerful as all the great must be!
And lifting the kids off the horse's back, then explaining that they should only do such things with him, not without him, and then helping them back onto it again, horse freed from the fence.

But there's an unbridgeable gap between those two attitudes, theory and reality. The search for the ox is the attempt nevertheless to bridge this gap. Nobody knows where such trying comes from. There's no merit in it; those who leave things as they are, aren't any worse people for it.
Only: that fellow's incompetence jeopardised the lives of two small children...

At times, some of us must tell ourselves with some energy to stop the junk we're doing. But the overall strategy should obviously be to round up our ego-stuff in circles, rather than go dead opposite against it. That requires a lot of practice, before we'll be "well trained".

Kodo Sawaki says: "Give your cow a vast field, and it will be well herded."



Enlightenment is not a thing that one might nail down theoretically. It only exists in the individual cases of the very persons who are concerned.
Leonard Cohen's case is pretty clearly described in the biography I'm Your Man by Sylvie Simmons, from page 394 to the end of chapter 20 (in the 2013 Vintage edition the passage begins with "Autumn 1998").

His own descriptions are, besides the whole song "You Got Me Singing", in that passage of Sylvie Simmons' biography:
"I said to myself this must be what it's like to be relatively sane."

and in Come Healing:

O see the darkness yielding
That tore the light apart
Come healing of the reason
Come healing of the heart

and in You Want It Darker:

I didn't know I had permission
To murder and to maim

(Who on earth could forbid the enlightened to do whatever they fancy?
Quoting Nancy Bacal from that passage in I'm Your Man: "[...] suddenly he could come and go as he pleased, do whatever he wanted. It took him a moment or two to figure that out, but when he did, it was a delight to see him so happy and so joyous."
Permission by life itself. Murder and maim? Nobody is responsible but we ourselves, individually. What does our conscience say in each particular situation?)

Afterwards, no more fits of clinical depression, no more spiritual crises.
He arrived, practically, in everyday life, "even though it all went wrong", at this "accepting that we are graced by being here is enough".



The Ballad of the Absent Mare ends in the "Empty Circle". That is the hinayana version of enlightenment ("Small Vehicle", personal salvation). The two remaining Ox-herding pictures are the mahayana version ("Great Vehicle", end of suffering for all sentient beings).

The reason for the Ballad's ending is, that "my darling" says to "Leonard": "just let it go by..."
Now whether this "darling" is God's grace, or a woman, or (more likely) both; and what they will be doing when the song is over, that's not part of the Ballad anymore however, it is strongly suggested by omission.
It is by troubadours, after all, that ballads are sung, by men for whom "High Romance" never really was exclusively "High".

"Say a prayer for the cowboy, Gentle Lady, and lend a kind ear to my courting song..."
And in case her husband is absent, yes, sometimes, with luck, the answer might be a bit longer than: "Leonard, just let it go by / That old silhouette on the great western sky"...



Ballad of the Absent Mare is a romantic man and woman thing.
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:55 am

Jean Fournell wrote:Well, there's a lot going on here.
Yes, apparently there is. ;-)
Thank you very much for your post Jean. I think I need to read it again, and get back to you after the eclipse tomorrow.
Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby AlanM » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:53 am

Ballad of the Absent Mare is not about a man-woman relationship, but about the realisation of one's own real self, a kind of Eastern "Pilgrim's Progress", and it covers eight of the ten pictures-poems in the wikipedia article.
Hi Jean,
Thank you for pointing me in the direction of enlightenment. I feel there is a degree of enlightenment in the pursuit of a lost love, be it animal or human, particularly in the achievement of a modicum of success.
Thank you also for your astute commentary of Leonard arriving on stage on the horse. It would indicate that it was not the first time he had ridden a horse, so does anyone know when and where he learned to ride? I don't recall reading about that in any of the biographies that I have. I presume he would have learned while living in Tennessee, and obviously he learned well.
I read somewhere that the cowboy of this song was supposed to be Willie York from the Big East Fork as mentioned in Chelsea Hotel #1, but that may be a long bow to draw.

4 if you ever get the chance to ride a horse, even just being led around, take it. Put it on your bucket list.

I grew up in Ireland on the edge of a rural village, and several friends had ponies, so we all learned to ride as children, and I continued through probably to my mid 20s. On my way to Oz I spent a few days in Banff, Canada and went on a horse trail ride. Our leader asked if I could ride and of course I said yes, but on mounting a Western saddle for the first time, I realised the American horses are different form the European ones re how they react to reins. I was holding the reins too tight for this poor creature and it was fidgeting quite an amount while I thought I was applying the brakes. A brief demonstration of neck reining put us both at ease, and I had a lovely ride around the area. On another day I rented a bicycle for a bit of exploration, rode along the Trans Canada Highway for a short distance and encountered a sign we didn't have in Ireland. It said "Please do not feed the bears" and straight away I wondered if the bears could read too. Anyhow I survived to enjoy Leonard's music for decades after that.

Bev, I instantly saw a picture of you in my mind when I read of you sliding off the horse.
I only ever fell off once and the horse wasn't even moving. The girth strap had not been tightened enough, and I must have leaned a bit to one side, and just kept going. Luckily my feet released from the stirrups during the process as the horse bolted off, none too pleased that the saddle was now underneath. He took a bit of catching after that.

Vickie, my sisters who still live in Ireland say I sound very Australian to them, so my accent is probably in the middle of that and what Bev said. I don't listen to myself very often, so I can't judge.

I still love this song, in spite of understanding it much better, so that's good.

Alan
Too much Leonard Cohen is never enough.
London 1972, Adelaide 1980, 1985, 2009
Sydney 2010; Adelaide 2010
Sydney 2013 X2; Melbourne 2013; Adelaide 2013
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:10 am

Alan, seems we both are drawing long bows! It’s on page nine again same as below in my Cowboy themed post :)
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=37392&p=365047&hili ... 31#p365047
B4real wrote:In the late 60’s LC bought a somewhat uncontrollable ornery horse from a neighbour, Kid Marley who was a rodeo champion. I suspect this horse could have a presence in BOTAM as well. When LC wrote Chelsea Hotel #1 in one of the versions of it he mentions both Kid Marley and also another neighbour Willie York who is mentioned alone in other versions of CH#1.

“I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
Then I went to Tennessee
Sittin’ by the creek with Willie York
And Kid Marley came to visit me”

And more cowboy and horse stuff same as below:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14959&p=292323&hili ... 31#p292323
Postby B4real » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:08 am
MaryB wrote:does anyone know the song that LC wrote about Kid Marley?
Hi Mary,

This answer is well over a year late and you may know it by now but I've just noticed this thread because it has been resurrected.

Kid Marley is mentioned in a line from Chelsea Hotel #1 -

"I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
Then I went to Tennessee
Sittin’ by the creek with Willie York
And Kid Marley came to visit me"

Full song lyrics here although there is at least another version:
http://www.leonardcohen-prologues.com/l ... elsea1.htm

....Kid Marley sold Leonard a horse which he had difficulty in catching to ride it!

Excerpt from Various Positions:
"Cohen decided he needed a horse and bought one from Kid Marley, a sometimes cowboy and a full time drinker. A legend in the area, Marley could sing and play the harmonica and did so often with Cohen. The horse was lame and consistently uncoperative, spending most of its time in the pasture avoiding the Montreal cowboy, although Cohen did eventually learn to ride him."

......and just in case you're interested in who Willie York was, here's the following paragraph in VP:

"One of Cohen's neighbours was Willie York, a notorious figure who had an illegal still and who once had shot a revenue officer. He became the subject of a hit song called "Wille York, Big East Forth, Franklin, Tennessee" by country singer Johnny Paycheck. York looked after Cohen's cabin and land while he lived there, but he also made off with a variety of goods including Cohen's rifle. An erratic neighbour he would pound on Cohen's door in the middle of a raging storm, demanding twenty dollars and Cohen would give it to him. Yet his individualism appealed to Cohen and he enjoyed his company."
And yes Alan, that slip-sliding, tail swingin’ saga is still a very vivid memory!

Jean, all that enlightenment has left me in the dark - I will read it again and let the light enter slowly ;-)

4, get your sketching pencil sharpened up - no pressure but :)

Vickie, I hope you fingers aren't too sore from playing BOTAM and maybe you have tried some other songs in the Little Black songbook, like The Stranger Song perhaps 8)
Just one other thing, I would recommend getting Jennifer Warnes album Famous Blue Raincoat. Amongst all the other songs there is a wonderful song that LC and Jennifer wrote together called Song Of Bernadette that I love. btw - this album was first given to me by my brother.
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal
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Jean Fournell
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby Jean Fournell » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:35 pm

AlanM wrote: It said "Please do not feed the bears"
Over here the equivalent is: "Interdit de ramasser des vipères" (No collecting vipers).

I finally listened to "The Strawberry Roan", after I'd found the lyrics on the web.
Even without looking up all that vocabulary: strange mentality they've got...

AlanM wrote: I was holding the reins too tight for this poor creature and it was fidgeting quite an amount while I thought I was applying the brakes.
For a horse that is used to "signal" riding, being put under "control" riding is incomprehensible: it is told to stand, and it stands, so that should be that.
Because then (through "applying the brakes") it is told to "stand more than stand", and the horse doesn't know what that might be (obviously).
So it will try all sorts of things, hoping to perchance do that which it is being asked to do.
But since the tight reins aren't signalling to do anything new at all (they are just controlling a status quo which wouldn't change anyway), whatever the horse does now will take it away from "standing", and cause more reins, which cause more efforts to find the impossible solution, thus causing more reins...

As for Leonard Cohen in 1970, at that time horses had disappeared out of towns and fields. So it will have been in some riding school or similar that the crew of hippies popped up and said, "Well, we're supposed to play at a concert, and our bus broke down, and now we're kind of in a hurry, and we'd like to hire a team of horses."
Arabian horses! Not exactly the cheapest, and not exactly what anybody would hand over to some perfect strangers.
So I imagine that Leonard Cohen persuaded the owner along some lines like these: "Ok, you tell me which horse, and which saddle, and which headgear. Then you watch me getting it all ready, and you watch my way of riding. And then you say yes or no."
On that photo, his hand is telling the horse, "It's weird, but there is no danger", and the horse trusts him sufficiently to cross-examine the situation and come to the same conclusion. Which confirms that the man seems reliable, and encourages further trust...

AlanM wrote: I only ever fell off once
I stopped counting a long, long time ago ;-)
Reminds me that I uploaded a second "galloping mare[s]" video:
https://youtu.be/MbQSDXRI4zU

AlanM wrote: I still love this song, in spite of understanding it much better, so that's good.
Wow if a song becomes bad through understanding it, then it was bad in the first place.
The more I get into the Ballad of the Absent Mare, thanks to this thread, the more beauty I discover. I knew it was a masterpiece, but there are so many layers (7+1 in my count so far), it really is beyond anything I would have expected!

B4real wrote: Jean, all that enlightenment has left me in the dark
Good omen! A sign that maybe I was sufficiently "Unconvincing" (Not A Jew).
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:50 am

The eclipse was pretty amazing, although I had thought it would be darker. Viewing that sliver of sun through the glasses, it was amazing to me that it was not indeed darker. It was equally amazing how much colder it got. In the evening, when the sun drops behind our ridge, it doesn’t get cool so quickly. I know we are nothing without the sun, but that fact was more obvious than usual for me today. We walked to the top of our property to view it. I will try to attach a picture of the ridge in full light (it is a panorama shot) and the ridge as the eclipse was nearing its peak. My cell phone camera compensated for the lack of sunlight and it doesn't look as dark as it really was, but it still didn't get that dark anyway. Both pictures capture how dry it is at this time of year though! I think I would have rather seen a rainstorm than an eclipse... almost.
Arrow Ridge.jpg
Ridge eclipse.jpg
Jean-- I guess there would be a bit of a language barrier and maybe a cultural difference regarding my question about your horses and also the lyrics of The Strawberry Roan. You are right, I was not asking if you would be killing your horse. I was asking if you always rode the same horse and led the other or if you sometimes ‘switched’ and rode the horse you had been leading and lead the horse you had been riding. As for The Strawberry Roan, it’s just an old cowboy song. As far as real cowboys go, I guess this isn’t the first time their mentality has been questioned.

As for the practice of Zen, although I can’t say “Oh… I get it now!” I do have a better understanding of the big picture. Thank you for that. Although I did have to read your post twice (and once aloud to my husband… who by now deserves another cartoon by 4!) Your suggestion of putting the ego in place of enlightenment in the story of the ox helped me understand that the struggle with the ox and mare is really just a symbol of the struggle one goes through in the practice of Zen to overcome the things that get in the way of their accepting the good things in life. Although it is easy enough to say “isn’t accepting that we are graced by being here enough”, it isn’t always easy to live as if you accept that. Which is why you say Zen is a practice — it is the practice of accepting grace and seeing it more clearly instead of letting your ego (or your intellect, or your religion, or your desire to win, or your envy, or a million other things) get in the way. Is that close to right? And although I said “struggle with the ox”, “herding the ox” is a more appropriate way of looking at it. I assume practicing Zen helps people to round up those things that get in the way so they can move on to accepting grace. I hope I am making sense. You will just have to trust that I understand it a lot better than I can articulate it. ;-)

I do remember the passage from the Simmons biography that you referred to, where Leonard spent all those years on Mount Baldy and then went on to practice Hinduism. In the end his veil of depression had lifted. I sometimes wonder if Leonard might have been happier if he had been a farm laborer or a construction worker instead of a talented and gifted musician and poet. I think he would have benefited from the routine of being tired in his body and not just his mind and to be in a place where his own needs were not exactly top priority. There is something to be said for that practice too. But I know a lot more about hard work than I do about depression or poetry or Zen or even Leonard for that matter… not that hard work is exclusive of any of those.

I think I get your final comment about The Ballad of the Absent Mare being a man and woman thing. Since the song stopped at the 8th ox picture, it was about personal salvation, a more intimate and earthly attainment of enlightenment (such as that between a man a woman) rather than the larger salvation of all sentient beings. I am glad that Leonard just "let it go by” at that. I was also glad to hear that you found more in The Ballad of the Absent Mare than you expected that you would. Goes to show that you can find anything you want if you look hard enough, right?

Alan-- Your story of the pony riding in Ireland VS the horse riding in Banff reminds me of when a good friend took me riding bareback running through trails I had never been on. Not that experienced at bareback, I was trying to hold on by squeezing the horse with my knees. It was only when we came to a skittering stop that the friend laughingly told me my horse had been “Indian broke” and trained to go faster when you squeezed your knees on each side, or to the right if you squeezed on the right, etc. I was not laughing but was still trying to get my heart out of throat. I have another story of riding horses in Peru, but I will save that for when we can all get together and tell horse stories through the night! Sorry 4, I guess you can draw a cartoon of us all trying to one-up each other. Or better yet, you can pour the wine!

B4- Okay... you have talked me into getting the album Famous Blue Raincoat by Warnes. I really do need to get over my aversion to female recording artists, so maybe this will help.
As for the trying to play The Stranger Song, all I have been able to do so far is try! But I am not ready to give up yet! Thank you so much for telling me about The Little Black Songbook! I am having great fun with it!

Now, I really do need to get something done around here. Enough hiking around the property and watching the sun and talking about Leonard Cohen for today. I need to finish the Various Positions biography! This is my very last week of summer vacation. The clock is ticking louder each day!

Thank you again
Vickie
Last edited by vlcoats on Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:37 am

Vickie, glad you experienced that astronomical event - they say it only happens once every 99 years!
btw - it's very dry here too and there's a big bushfire in the hills - smoke everywhere - talk about The Smokey Life! I'll be so glad when the sea breeze comes in this afternoon to blow it away from here. We really need rain very soon!
vlcoats wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:50 am
B4- Okay... you have talked me into getting the album Famous Blue Raincoat by Warnes. I really do need to get over my aversion to female recording artists, so maybe this will help.
I know I've said this before, I am generally not into anyone covering LC songs and I also am not usually enamored with female solo artists but to me Jennifer is an exception! She has a beautiful voice and her album FBR put LC back on the map, so to speak! Having said that, this link is to a song I absolutely love also associated with the "great western sky" called Prairie Melancholy from her album The Well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JgT9cKNhMo

Some beautiful painterly words from it:
"So shred the poems
let the wild birds chase them in the breeze
let them make their nests from words like 'please'...."

(my mind simply goes to another place when I envisage that!)
Actually all the words are wonderful - and of course I love the violin!

.... and I haven't posted that link to make you buy that album but just simply to share it!
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal

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