The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Debate on Leonard Cohen's poetry (and novels), both published and unpublished. Song lyrics may also be discussed here.
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mat james
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Re: The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Postby mat james » Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:43 am

Well, here it is ;-) The next song up for comment/discussion.
All I have heard that LC ever said about this song: 'This is about death'. (Tine Does)

Here It Is

Here is your crown
And your seal and rings;
And here is your love
For all things.

Here is your cart,
And your cardboard and piss;
And here is your love
For all of this.

May everyone live,
And may everyone die.
Hello, my love,
And my love, Goodbye.

Here is your wine,
And your drunken fall;
And here is your love.
Your love for it all.

Here is your sickness.
Your bed and your pan;
And here is your love
For the woman, the man.

May everyone live,
And may everyone die.
Hello, my love,
And my love, Goodbye.

And here is the night,
The night has begun;
And here is your death
In the heart of your son.

And here is the dawn,
(Until death do us part);
And here is your death,
In your daughter’s heart.

May everyone live,
And may everyone die.
Hello, my love,
And my love, Goodbye.

And here you are hurried,
And here you are gone;
And here is the love,
That it’s all built upon.

Here is your cross,
Your nails and your hill;
And here is your love,
That lists where it will.

May everyone live,
And may everyone die.
Hello, my love,
And my love, Goodbye.


Who is singing, "Here it is"?
Leonard's G~d I suppose.
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
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Re: The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Postby DBCohen » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:04 am

Mat,

Thanks for posting “Here It Is”, a song I love very much but which is not easy for me to talk about. Your suggestion that the speaker in the song is LC’s God is intriguing; I always thought that he was speaking to himself at a point in life where death seems near, and he feels the need to collect his thoughts, recollect the past, and - hardest of all - look into the future in which he will no longer exist. I apologize for not being able to say anything more substantial at this point, but I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on this song. How do you read the lines:

And here is your love,
That lists where it will.
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mat james
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Re: The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Postby mat james » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:40 pm

How do you read the lines? (DB Cohen)

”And here is your love,
That lists where it will.”
Hi DB,
“lists” can be a “list” of objects, names, experiences as you know. A “list” can also be a few other things; but…
To “list” is also to “lean” this way or that way and is often used in reference to a boat; leaning to one side. I would suggest that in this song Leonard is suggesting that our love may lean in different directions as time goes by.
“love” in each verse “lists (leans) in a different direction.
In fact in ten of the twelve verses, the third line of each verse points to a way that we may love (in that verse).
In verse 7 & 8 he uses the word “death” instead of the word “love” in the 3rd lines.
It may be a way of emphasizing the depth of love one feels for their children or even more, as stated below.

I would interpret this song as Leonard’s G~d taking an overview of a life and mixing in a bundle of opportunities whereby that individual has the chance to “love”.
Love though; is God.
So in each of these love/desire experiences one has the opportunity to feel G~d’s presence, which is G~d (an aspect of G~d, at least).


Here is your crown
And your seal and rings;
And here is your love :shock:
For all things.

“crown” You are king of your own domain/life

Here is your cart,
And your cardboard and piss;
And here is your love
For all of this.

”cart” your body to move around your domain in.

Here is your wine,
And your drunken fall;
And here is your love.
Your love for it all.

“wine” your thoughts and spiritual ideas

Here is your sickness.
Your bed and your pan;
And here is your love
For the woman, the man.

“sickness” maybe the love we have for each other, a love that may keep us away from loving G~d, and therefore perhaps defined as a “sickness” as it may detract us from our divine purpose, which is to “love” G~d” first; and all others second, so to speak.

And here is the night,
The night has begun;
And here is your death
In the heart of your son.

“night” ignorance, not knowing . For me? Perhaps “The night has begun” is the mystic journey toward communion/co-union with the “Father”, “I Am Who Am” and the journey to undifferentiated consciousness…Unity. The “son” must die in order to re-cognize his inherent divinity as ‘Father”.

And here is the dawn,
(Until death do us part);
And here is your death,
In your daughter’s heart

“dawn” it is no longer “night” and the journeyman has experienced the divine feminine principal and has blended conscious with unconscious, night with day, soul with g~d; etc.

And here you are hurried,
And here you are gone;
And here is the love,
That it’s all built upon.

“hurried” desire. We hurry because we “long” for something to be fulfilled or over or experienced. Our lives are “built upon” our longings.

Here is your cross,
Your nails and your hill;
And here is your love,
That lists where it will.

“cross” these are the burdens we are sent to bare. Our longings will drag us toward our “cross”, our (perhaps) fated experiences in waiting, unavoidable karma.
Our karma/destiny lists/leans us in our own particular direction/s; each having their own personal equation of misery and bliss, so to speak.

…and of course the refrain,

May everyone live,
And may everyone die.
Hello, my love,
And my love, Goodbye.

“live” May we each live and die according to our leanings (no doubt karma-driven)

G~d says, “Here it is”;… “your opportunity to play the game of life and edge back towards me (Undifferentiated Union) if you can.”

Well, that’s my take on it, baby! :shock: :shock: ;-) 8) :)
What's yours???

Mat.
Last edited by mat james on Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
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Re: The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Postby DBCohen » Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:48 am

Mat,

That was a beautiful interpretation. Thanks also for explaining “lists”.

I can see how the pattern established in the BoM discussion emerges here too, with you finding the mystical drive behind the lines, and the quest for ultimate union, and me looking for a different angle. 8) But I confess to being somewhat helpless when it comes to this song. Perhaps it touches me in some painful places which I don’t care to search too much, although the song itself does not cause me pain, but rather brings a kind of uplifting, as it often is with LC songs. So although I may have a somewhat different take on it, and in spite of the need to analyze and the wish to really understand, I’m going to pass this time. But let me say again how I enjoyed your interpretation.
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Re: The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Postby TineDoes » Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:09 am

Mat, Thank you for your extensive 'take' on "Here It Is".
I see this lyric as a mirror that narrator would put before someone who is about to leave this life, perhaps before himself. He is saying Look at all of the aspects of your life as you lived it, what meaning could it have in the face of eternity? Central to this, I think, is the Buddhists aim of the acceptance of life’s passing (the chorus).
"There’s no forsaking what you love ...."

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Diane
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Re: The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Postby Diane » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:21 pm

Hi Mat and Doron and TineDoes,

I don't like this song. Not for any good reason - I suppose I like poems that talk about about blood sweat and tears, but not piss! But I am jumping in here because I think you are missing the main point. I could be wrong, but I feel it is saying, simply, from a Zen viewpoint, "HERE it is," here, right here, under your nose, in your actual experience.

Here is your crown
And your seal and rings;
And here is your love
For all things.


Here is what makes you a king with a crown - this very moment, in its entirety, and your inextricableness from it.

Here is your cart,
And your cardboard and piss;
And here is your love
For all of this.


Here is what you are pulled along in - your desires (your cart), and here is your flimsiness (cardboard) and your not especially pleasant emanations (piss). Here is your acceptance of your self, along with those characteristics.

May everyone live,
And may everyone die.
Hello, my love,
And my love, Goodbye.


We keep living and dying each moment. May we 'just' do this.

Here is your wine,
And your drunken fall;
And here is your love.
Your love for it all.


Here are the things that intoxicate you (love, seeking the spiritual), and here is your "fall" because that "noble" desire ends in disappointment. And here is your acceptance of all that anyway (your love for it ALL).

Here is your sickness.
Your bed and your pan;
And here is your love
For the woman, the man.


This echoes the second verse. Here is your sickness (desire again), your bed pan (piss).

May everyone live,
And may everyone die.
Hello, my love,
And my love, Goodbye.

And here is the night,
The night has begun;
And here is your death
In the heart of your son.

And here is the dawn,
(Until death do us part);
And here is your death,
In your daughter’s heart.


Those two verses reiterate the idea of the living and dying of every moment; the following of day with night, with day. Our children will outlive us, so our death is already in their hearts, just as the death of this moment is already inherent in this moment.

May everyone live,
And may everyone die.
Hello, my love,
And my love, Goodbye.

And here you are hurried,
And here you are gone;
And here is the love,
That it’s all built upon.


Agree with Mat here - you hurry away from "here" and you leave it, but this hurrying is built not just on your selective attachments, but on ALL. So this verse is saying, here is your NOT accepting that "here it is"!

Here is your cross,
Your nails and your hill;
And here is your love,
That lists where it will.


This is a great Image - Here is your cross, Your nails and your hill: It expresses how life presents you with the things you take and crucify yourself with!, according to your karma - how your love lists - as you have mentioned.

May everyone live,
And may everyone die.
Hello, my love,
And my love, Goodbye.


This song points to not dressing up what is. "Truth cannot be accumulated," said Krishnamurti. Here it is.
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TineDoes
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Re: The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Postby TineDoes » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:03 am

Diane wrote:I could be wrong, but I feel it is saying, simply, from a Zen viewpoint, "HERE it is," here, right here, under your nose, in your actual experience.
Diane, Leonard himself said 'It's nice to write a catchy tune about death'. But that could, as you say, be about the 'living and dying of each moment'. Your explanation makes great sence to me.
"There’s no forsaking what you love ...."

Rotterdam 2008; Antwerpen, Dublin 2009; Gent 2x, Lille , Las Vegas 2x 2010, Gent, Amsterdam, Dublin 2x 2012, Antwerp, Berlin, Rotterdam 2013
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Diane
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Re: The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Postby Diane » Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:33 am

Hello TineDoes. Well I suppose Leonard is entitled to interpret it as he wishes;-) But yes, there may be no contradition. If as you say above, the song is asking somebody about to die, what the meaning of their life is, then they may realise that "here it is". Being open to death propels you into the moment pretty effectively.
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mat james
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Re: The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Postby mat james » Sat Jun 12, 2010 2:54 am

Hi All, :)
I love the mosaic nature of discussion. ;-)

Here it is
I think you are missing the main point…"HERE it is," here, right here, under your nose, in your… experience.
Ha! There is a rich irony in this statement of yours Diane.
Missing the point…here is the point you are missing…”here it is” Ha!!
Of course you are probably 100% correct, as well.
The title adds to the irony and my blindness.

It’s all good.
“Leonard himself said 'It's nice to write a catchy tune about death'.” (TineDoes)
Ha! He would think this way; “a catchy tune”
Never mind the topic, really.

But a thought/question/focus is; “Who is singing?” (Who narrates within the lyrics?)
Could it be G~d?
Is it just Leonard?
Could it be his Soul?
Does it really matter?

For me, it is a discussion so we may as well be adventurous and check out these various options/tangents.
I love these Mosaics.
Maybe Life is a mosaic?
A mosaic of the Monad?

Mat.
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
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Re: The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Postby Diane » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:23 am

Well you see Mat, you are too clever and you know too much, for the purposes of interpreting this song:-)
mat james wrote:
“Leonard himself said 'It's nice to write a catchy tune about death'.” (TineDoes)
Ha! He would think this way; “a catchy tune”
Never mind the topic, really.
Mat.
We assume that death is serious, don't we. Excuse the diversion, but it reminds me of Alan Watts:

Is It Serious?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asqd1H4IluQ
If life is serious then I must survive. If it's not then it really doesn't matter. GK Chesterton once observed that angels fly because they take themselves lightly... and if the angels take themselves lightly, how much moreso the Lord of the Angels? . . . My basic metaphysical axiom is that existence, the physical universe, is basically playful. There is no necessity for it . . . it has no destination, and it is best understood as an analogy with music . . . the point is to sing or to dance while the music lasts.
Was Leonard displaying his dark humour when he said he wrote a catchy tune about death, or had he realised that it wasn't serious? :idea:
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Re: The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Postby TineDoes » Sun Jun 13, 2010 1:08 pm

Diane, I can''t thank you enough for posting the link to this wonderful speaker Alan Watt. :D

Leonard seems to be well on the way to dancing and singing to the music for as long as it lasts. On the other hand seriousness is his middelname so to speak. Leonard knows it is up to everybody for himself to decide or discover on this subject.
I think Proff. Jung said that the only way to go on in old age is for people to live in the knowledge that there still is a future for them, a next day. (There is no last chord).
mat james wrote:But a thought/question/focus is; “Who is singing?”
There is another song in which I always wondered who is singing: 'You know who I am'.
In the end it is Leonard that wrote and sings these songs.
But who knows what cap he was wearing at the time? ;-)
"There’s no forsaking what you love ...."

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mat james
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Re: The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Postby mat james » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:22 am

But who knows what cap he was wearing at the time? ;-)
...and who is "he/He? ;-)
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
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mat james
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Re: The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Postby mat james » Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:32 am

This song should appeal to many and hopefully we get a good range of opinions on its meaning.
I assume that most interpretations have their imistakes so :
My mis-interpretation will focus on the refrain.
I'll start soon; but I'll give some more time to reflection.
My focus, of course, will be the mystical implications.
What's your focus?

Mat.


Boogie Street
O Crown of Light, O Darkened One,
I never thought we’d meet.
You kiss my lips, and then it’s done:
I’m back on Boogie Street.

A sip of wine, a cigarette,
And then it’s time to go
I tidied up the kitchenette;
I tuned the old banjo.
I’m wanted at the traffic-jam.
They’re saving me a seat.
I’m what I am, and what I am,
Is back on Boogie Street.

And O my love, I still recall
The pleasures that we knew;
The rivers and the waterfall,
Wherein I bathed with you.
Bewildered by your beauty there,
I’d kneel to dry your feet.
By such instructions you prepare
A man for Boogie Street.

O Crown of Light, O Darkened One…

So come, my friends, be not afraid.
We are so lightly here.
It is in love that we are made;
In love we disappear.
Though all the maps of blood and flesh
Are posted on the door,
There’s no one who has told us yet
What Boogie Street is for.

O Crown of Light, O Darkened One,
I never thought we’d meet.
You kiss my lips, and then it’s done:
I’m back on Boogie Street.

A sip of wine, a cigarette,
And then it’s time to go…


As to the symbols that intrigue me:
(crown, light, dark(ened) one, lips, Boogie Street, wine, kitchenette, traffic-jam, rivers, waterfall, bathed, kneel to dry your feet, , love, maps of blood and flesh, door,)
O Crown of Light, O Darkened One,
I never thought we’d meet.
You kiss my lips, and then it’s done:
I’m back on Boogie Street.
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
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mat james
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Re: The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Postby mat james » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:41 pm

Boogie Street commentary:

“O Crown of Light, O Darkened One,
I never thought we’d meet.
You kiss my lips, and then it’s done:
I’m back on Boogie Street.”

“O Crown of Light, O Darkened One,”
This is the beginning and the end of our journeying quest.
“O Crown of light”; The goal and the aim, communion with the Infinite/Tao/God/Brahma/the Dreamtime’s Rainbow Serpent; etc.
“O Darkened One” You, Who are such a mystery to us, yet I/we feel your existence intimately; and yet,
“I never thought we’d meet” I never really had the faith to know You. Sure, I wanted to, I longed for You, but somehow I had the feeling that You were beyond me; not just ineffable but incomprehensible and unobtainable: …and I was wrong.
“You kiss(ed) my lips”… You and I loved for a moment, intimately and very lovingly. I knew at that yoking of lips that You do exist and you do care for me, intimately. You didn’t convey more and yet that which you conveyed was immeasurably important to this Soul lost in a darkness of longing for You.
“…and then its done”…there is little more to do/know/comprehend or long for now; I am saturated by your intimate answer;
So now I move back now, to my old life, with an affirmed meaning to my otherwise insignificant existence.
You are a Crown of Light and knowing and You are Mysteriously Dark and strange and difficult /impossible to comprehend; yet the light and dark of my sensual life is a reflection of Your totality and I am content in my karmic saunter.
Thy Will be done.

Mat.
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
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Re: The poetry of "Ten New Songs"

Postby mat james » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:02 am

I have had to re-consider my approach to “Boogie Street” as I am suffering from what I might call, Spider Web Syndrome; (all sorts of strange and wonderful ideas regarding Leonard’s songs are filtering from my mental extremities (web-like) to my core, concurrently. It is that process of muddy water settling to clarity. I have too much to say; so I will ‘stagger’; a bit today and more later on.
Please read, if you are interested.

"Let us compare mythologies;"

The Stranger Song (The Dealer)

It's true that all the men you knew were dealers
who said they were through with dealing
Every time you gave them shelter
I know that kind of man
It's hard to hold the hand of anyone
who is reaching for the sky just to surrender
who is reaching for the sky just to surrender.

And then sweeping up the jokers that he left behind
you find he did not leave you very much not even laughter
Like any dealer he was watching for the card
that is so high and wild
he'll never need to deal another
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger.

And then leaning on your window sill
he'll say one day you caused his will
to weaken with your love and warmth and shelter
And then taking from his wallet
an old schedule of trains, he'll say
I told you when I came I was a stranger
I told you when I came I was a stranger.

But now another stranger seems
to want you to ignore his dreams
as though they were the burden of some other
O you've seen that man before
his golden arm dispatching cards
but now it's rusted from the elbows to the finger
And he wants to trade the game he plays for shelter
Yes he wants to trade the game he knows for shelter.

Ah you hate to see another tired man
lay down his hand
like he was giving up the holy game of poker
And while he talks his dreams to sleep
you notice there's a highway
that is curling up like smoke above his shoulder
It is curling just like smoke above his shoulder.

You tell him to come in sit down
but something makes you turn around
The door is open you can't close your shelter
You try the handle of the road
It opens do not be afraid
It's you my love, you who are the stranger
It's you my love, you who are the stranger.

Well, I've been waiting, I was sure
we'd meet between the trains we're waiting for
I think it's time to board another
Please understand, I never had a secret chart
to get me to the heart of this
or any other matter
When he talks like this
you don't know what he's after
When he speaks like this,
you don't know what he's after.

Let's meet tomorrow if you choose
upon the shore, beneath the bridge
that they are building on some endless river
Then he leaves the platform
for the sleeping car that's warm
You realize, he's only advertising one more shelter
And it comes to you, he never was a stranger
And you say ok the bridge or someplace later.

And then sweeping up the jokers that he left behind ...

And leaning on your window sill ...

I told you when I came I was a stranger.




A thousand kisses deep

The ponies run, the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat.
You win a while, and then it's done
Your little winning streak.
And summoned now to deal
With your invincible defeat,
You live your life as if it's real,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

I'm turning tricks, I'm getting fixed,
I'm back on Boogie Street.
You lose your grip, and then you slip
Into the Masterpiece.
And maybe I had miles to drive,
And promises to keep:
You ditch it all to stay alive,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

And sometimes when the night is slow,
The wretched and the meek,
We gather up our hearts and go,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

Confined to sex, we pressed against
The limits of the sea:
I saw there were no oceans left
For scavengers like me.
I made it to the forward deck.
I blessed our remnant fleet
And then consented to be wrecked,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

I'm turning tricks, I'm getting fixed,
I'm back on Boogie Street.
I guess they won't exchange the gifts
That you were meant to keep.
And quiet is the thought of you,
The file on you complete,
Except what we forgot to do,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

And sometimes when the night is slow,
The wretched and the meek,
We gather up our hearts and go,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.
The ponies run, the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat . . .



Boogie Street

O Crown of Light, O Darkened One,
I never thought we’d meet.
You kiss my lips, and then it’s done:
I’m back on Boogie Street.

A sip of wine, a cigarette,
And then it’s time to go
I tidied up the kitchenette;
I tuned the old banjo.
I’m wanted at the traffic-jam.
They’re saving me a seat.
I’m what I am, and what I am,
Is back on Boogie Street.

And O my love, I still recall
The pleasures that we knew;
The rivers and the waterfall,
Wherein I bathed with you.
Bewildered by your beauty there,
I’d kneel to dry your feet.
By such instructions you prepare
A man for Boogie Street.

O Crown of Light, O Darkened One…

So come, my friends, be not afraid.
We are so lightly here.
It is in love that we are made;
In love we disappear.
Though all the maps of blood and flesh
Are posted on the door,
There’s no one who has told us yet
What Boogie Street is for.

O Crown of Light, O Darkened One,
I never thought we’d meet.
You kiss my lips, and then it’s done:
I’m back on Boogie Street.

A sip of wine, a cigarette,
And then it’s time to go…
'Every time you gave them shelter' (The Stranger Song)
My Father’s kingdom has many mansions for this prodigal Son and “Stranger”.
And onto the keys to these intriguing mansions (songs, in this case):
It is becoming more and more apparent to me that Loenard Cohen has been creating his own “myth” (mythology), perhaps from the very beginning of his song writing. The myth is infused with his own morph of mythological symbols, some archaic and Old and New Testament driven, some Buddhist driven and some modern and drawn from his contemporary life (dealing cards or drugs, so to speak, on Boogie Street).
Doron often leads us into the Jewish influences and Simon and others lead us through the Buddhist influences while Diane hints to Sufi influences. And I rave on a little about the Neo-Platonic influences; but my Neo-platonic musings emanate from the New Testament’s, (John 10 to 14). This little quote from the New Testament, John 14 (King James), in my opinion, filters into Leonard’s Mythology during the gestation of his creative core, his magma-morphing into personal Myth and into Mystic vision:
“2In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you… Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? 10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me:..” (similar to "The flight of the alone to the ALONE." of the Neo-Platonist, Plotinus)
Therefore:
I would like to consider the possibility of these three songs being sung with the same mythic breath; from some room in one of those ‘mansions’;
… and so I include some of the unifying mythic symbols from the 3 songs above (in a list, started below) and intrigued; I saunter on from there.

As always, this is my saunter and Leonard Cohen could well laugh at my ramblings.
But I love to saunter; so here goes…

(crown, light, dark(ened) one, night, sea, oceans, fleet (and Jesus was a sailor) scavengers, meek, lips, bathed, kneel to dry your feet, kiss, a thousand kisses deep, , love, ponies run, girls are young;
maps of blood and flesh, Boogie Street, wine, kitchenette, traffic-jam, rivers, waterfall, door, deal, tricks, fixed, Masterpiece,)
{…references to the symbols/song “The Dealer” “It seems to me the men you knew were dealers and when they were through with dealing: every time you gave them shelter. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBbk9laJfsw}

“O Crown of Light, O Darkened One,
I never thought we’d meet.
…You kiss my lips, and then it’s done:
…a thousand kisses deep”

The above musings are merely an introduction to this group of songs.
I will post it now for your consideration; I have much to add, embellish (?) and distill, but I don’t want to burden you with my spray of suspect comprehensions, all at once.
Comment as and when you wish.


Regards, Mat.
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.

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