Say a prayer for the Cowboy....Ballad of the absent Mare

Debate on Leonard Cohen's poetry (and novels), both published and unpublished. Song lyrics may also be discussed here.
User avatar
mat james
Posts: 1810
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 8:06 am
Location: Australia

Re: Say a prayer for the Cowboy....Ballad of the absent Mare

Post by mat james » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:51 pm

"So he binds himself to the galloping mare
...and he leans on her neck and he whispers low
Whither thou goest I will go
... I want to travel with you
And I want to travel blind
I think maybe I'll trust you

...for you've touched my perfect body with your mind."

...and I sink beneath your wisdom
like a stone...
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
User avatar
B4real
Posts: 6736
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:49 am
Location: Q'ld, Australia

Re: Say a prayer for the Cowboy....Ballad of the absent Mare

Post by B4real » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:43 am

Mat, here are some alternate lines Leonard has sung over the years for this song.
I thought you might be interested in them :)

And the sun goes down
by the river’s side...

And the crickets are playing
their final song...

Then at home on his branch...

And she leans on her neck
And she whispers low
and they're gone with the whip...

And it’s time for their burden...

That great silhouette
on the old western sky...

some say love’s like the smoke...

Some say there are instances of exchanging adjectives, interchanging gender and introducing a singular personal possessive case pronoun in the third person ;-)
It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to B4real ~ me
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
User avatar
mat james
Posts: 1810
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 8:06 am
Location: Australia

Re: Say a prayer for the Cowboy....Ballad of the absent Mare

Post by mat james » Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:42 am

Hi B4,
thanks for entering the fray, :)
Some say there are instances of exchanging adjectives, interchanging gender and introducing a singular personal possessive case pronoun in the third person ;-)
Ha! Well I suppose that, that is what Unity, communion and Oneness is all about!

(Playing with words
playing with concepts
playing with interpretation;
it's a game I love; or, why bother to read the song at all?
I'll shadow-box around a bit and see if I can avoid being down for the count.)


"Did he dream, was it she who went galloping past
And bent down the fern broke open the grass
And printed the mud with the iron and the gold
That he nailed to her feet
when he was the lord"

So far we have found Solomon longing in the gardens and the "grass",
We have saddled-up with Buddha while sitting it out, meditating
and now resurrect Jesus "with the iron and the gold".
Is it the "Way" that he nailed to her feet?
Is it the "Way" that is "printed in the mud"?
Is it the destination of that track (Way) which is the "gold"?
...the high plateau
...and why Jesus?
...aren't Solomon and Buddha enough for this sauntering Phoenician?
"Can he shoot from the hip"?

Why does Leonard so often bring up this other "beautiful loser"?
What is it that Jesus the Phoenician does for Leonard the Phoenician that the other two (Solomon and Buddha) can't...?
(Dear Reader, Place your answer here.........................................................................)

segue:
"...ground control to major Tom.....
...ground control to major Tom...............................

...And I think my spaceship knows which way to go..."
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
User avatar
mat james
Posts: 1810
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 8:06 am
Location: Australia

Re: Say a prayer for the Cowboy....Ballad of the absent Mare

Post by mat james » Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:55 am

.
.
.
"...planet Earth is blue
and there's nothing I can do..."
.
.
.
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
User avatar
B4real
Posts: 6736
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:49 am
Location: Q'ld, Australia

Re: Say a prayer for the Cowboy....Ballad of the absent Mare

Post by B4real » Fri Oct 23, 2020 6:21 am

mat james wrote:
Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:55 am
.
.
.
"...planet Earth is blue
and there's nothing I can do..."
.
.
.
Mat, There's lot of blue going around the forum world lately - you could say, "I've never seen the sky so blue" :)
B4real wrote:
Fri Oct 23, 2020 3:28 am
Blue Alert, Blue Alert!!
B4real wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:48 am
.... I think you are going through your blue period as did Picasso ;-)
https://www.leonardcohenforum.com/viewt ... 80#p375656
Geoffrey wrote: you want it bluer....
his lips and his fingers were blue...
It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to B4real ~ me
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
User avatar
mat james
Posts: 1810
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 8:06 am
Location: Australia

Re: Say a prayer for the Cowboy....Ballad of the absent Mare

Post by mat james » Fri Oct 23, 2020 3:25 pm

Ha!
Hi B4

Somehow Leonard's Absent Mare song analysis took me to Bowies "Space Oddity" :roll: :?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRMZ_5WYmCg

Buddhism ultimately leads to what might be termed "empty space"
The Hebrew Bible via Job also leads to a similar "empty space"
...so somehow I ended up in Bowie's "empty space" in this song linked above.

...so Leonard (and early Dylan) found favour in their fellow-Phoenician sailor, Jesus;
"the iron and the gold
that he nailed to her feet
when he was the lord "

I "wonder what it was" that Leonard saw in Jesus that he couldn't find in Buddhist or Phoenician (Hebrew) viewpoints? ...right up to "The Flame" and his translation/poem, "The Lucky Night".

Maybe it was a certain sort of hope? Hope for eternal transience...Oneness and all that stuff.

Who knows!?

But the smile he wore when he spoke to Jennifer Warne in the article above suggests he certainly reached that "high plateau" he sings of in this song, The Ballad of the absent mare".
This song is a song of hope and trust; of transience in Time/space, like Basho, glancing occasionally at a flower or the Moon, and finding a sacred moment in eternity.

"And she steps on the moon when she paws at the sky"

Cohen reminds me a lot of Basho though they were 300 years apart.
(https://www.google.com/search?q=basho&r ... e&ie=UTF-8)

I love the opening line of this song, "Say a prayer for the Cowboy"; we are told that he thought of himself as a bit of a cowboy...

I ask myself, "Should I say a prayer for this Cowboy, Leonard?"
But I don't indulge in prayers, very often;

but I will say "thank-you, Leonard !
What a great Song."

"...But my darling says "Leonard, just let it go by
That old silhouette on the great western sky"
So I pick out a tune and they move right along

...And they're gone like the smoke And they're gone like this song...

Here is what Basho said about Leonard Cohen ;-)
"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought." (Basho)

Yes, if we are in the "Lucky Night!" we may just step on that Moon when we paw at the sky...
Of course, I have said more than enough and thanks for hanging in there.
Hang onto your own interpretation; it's fun to paw at the sky. 8)

Until the next song...I'm back to Boogie Street ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BD7CFwiIsI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riWzWWIubNk

MatbellybuttongazerJ.
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
Post Reply

Return to “Leonard Cohen's poetry and novels”