It Seemed The Better Way

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jarkko
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It Seemed The Better Way

Postby jarkko » Sat Apr 19, 2003 2:09 pm

I have posted a recent poem by Leonard, "It seemed the better way".
It's his "Poem for Easter" greeting to readers of The Blackening Pages.
Link next to "Latest Updates" on the front page at http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com

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Andrew (Darby)
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Postby Andrew (Darby) » Sat Apr 19, 2003 4:03 pm

Thanks Jarkko (& thanks Leonard)

Another thought provoking and challenging offering!

Cheers
Andrew (Darby)
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Postby Anne » Sat Apr 19, 2003 4:32 pm

Excellent.

Thank you.
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Postby lizzytysh » Sat Apr 19, 2003 6:37 pm

Thank you very much, Leonard, and Jarkko for bringing it to us. I've read it three times now, and will approach it again later. I'm still working on its perspectives. As Andrew has said, it's a both thought provoking and challenging offering. Very gentle lines addressing so much.

~ Elizabeth
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Postby Kush » Sat Apr 19, 2003 11:22 pm

He writes so much better than he draws. This is really excellent.
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Postby Linda » Sun Apr 20, 2003 3:05 pm

Thanks for the interesting Easter message Leonard
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Postby linmag » Mon Apr 21, 2003 2:38 am

Kush - I think Leonard's approach to writing and drawing is quite similar. Just a few lines pared down to the bare essentials, leaving us to fill in the gaps for ourselves. But, like you, I prefer the writing to the drawing, and it's going to take me a while to get my head around this one.

Thank-you, Leonard, we'll never be reduced to crossword puzzles while you are around :)
Linda

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Postby Kush » Mon Apr 21, 2003 5:12 am

Well to be honest I'm not really interested in art so I s'pose I shouldnt be talking about something I don't understand. Still, the first self-portrait (in recent times) 'Happy At Last' was a curiosity for me. The next two were pretty much on the same lines and something that didnt seem too hard to draw or all that creative. More like cartoon figures in newspapers.

Now, the poem 'It Seemed The Better Way' is an altogether different issue. The title, the occasion and the entire poem seems to be (dare I mention the p-word? :D ) a 'protest poem'. Whether specifically directed or not I don't know. Perhaps it is general like "There is no decent place to stand in this massacre". I think there is resignation (e.g., too late to turn the other cheek & no one but a fool would bless the meek today) and bitter irony bordering on sarcasm (Cup of blood with everyone, Try to say the Grace) especially in the very last verse. What I didnt fully comprehend was the last 2 lines of the penultimate verse " This rising up with love, this lying down with death", although I have some vague idea.
Now I could of course be completely mistaken in my interpretation and would be interested others views. My knowledge of religion is very limited so it is entirely possible that I am missing something here altogether. But whatever the interpretation , it is a little masterpiece.
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Postby Linda » Mon Apr 21, 2003 4:27 pm

I see it as referring to the Sermon on the Mount. He makes reference to the Sermon on the Mount in "Democracy", and he says " the staggering account of the Sermon on the Mount, which I don't pretend to understand at all." I don't see the poem so much a protest as questioning, if we believe as Jesus teaches or should have over these thousand of years, the earth would most surely be a peaceful place. But now it is too late. "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth", in chapter five of Matthew doesn't seem likely right now.

I also see it as questioning the death of Jesus, as some of us believe being our saving grace, what does it "really" mean. He raises good questions in this poem for us that believe in Jesus as our Savior.
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Postby Paula » Mon Apr 21, 2003 8:20 pm

The rising up with love could be the ascension and lying down with death could be when Jesus was entombed prior to the ascension.

Only a fool would bless the meek could be construed as meaning sometimes war is needed as the meek will not inherit the earth they will just be overpowered.

I have probably misconstrued the poem but I like the fact it could relate to either Jesus being crucified and the world at present being crucified.

It could also pertain to Bush or Saddam as well as Jesus - the line - it seemed the truth when first I heard him speak. Now its too late to turn the other cheek. The guantlet is thrown down and the rising up in love could be for Islam or love of country and the lying down with death is self explanatory. It could also mean lying as in telling lies - should the word there not be laying - someone who knows correct English will tell me the difference between lying and laying in that context

A bit like a Nostradamous quandant - sorry I think I spelt that wrong Jarkko we need a spellcheck on this my spelling is rubbish
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Postby linmag » Mon Apr 21, 2003 11:30 pm

Paula, the difference between laying and lying is all to do with verbs that can have an object and those that can't. They have fancy names for them, but I always get them the wrong way round. You can lay down the law, lay down arms, lay a table or an egg (well, perhaps not you personally), but you cannot lay down your self since yourself is indivisible. You can only lie. (Please understand I have no wish to cast nasturtiums on your truthfulness here.) You can lie down, on, over, in, under and probably several more prepositions I haven't thought of, but you can only lay something or, if you are lucky someone else. Here endeth the lesson.
Last edited by linmag on Tue Apr 22, 2003 1:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby lizzytysh » Tue Apr 22, 2003 12:03 am

As I'm trying to figure out who these figures might be, my original thought being Bush for the "heard him speak" ~ yet feeling that with its being an Easter poem, it "oughta" relate somehow to Christ somehow, had to discard its being Jesus because of the line saying "When first I heard him speak," with the time frame being off a couple thousand years, plus first implies a second, etc. ~~ anyway, I see in the copyrtight notation at the bottom of the page that the "original"[?] copyright is 2001 followed by a comma and 2003. So, it may be a revised[?] poem adapted to circumstances since 2001 ~ the second version copyrighted, as well.

If it were 2001 only, it couldn't be speaking to outcomes of this war [well, not necessarily, anyway ~ tho we may want to remember Cohen's assigned status as a prophet]. It may well have been written after/in response to September 11. It may not necessarily, or at least directly, relate to Easter ~ though that would be an appropriate time to gift us with it.

Anyway, still working on who the figures are in it. I, of course, immediately felt it to relate to Bush and the war. Gotta go.....more later.
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Postby Linda » Tue Apr 22, 2003 12:40 am

He is referring to the person who said "to turn the other cheek" and
" the meek shall be blessed" and in my opinion that would be Jesus, not George Bush or Saddam Hussein. However, "heard him speak" is confusing.
As much as we want a statement on the war in Iraq from him, I don't believe it is that. I believe it is just a Easter message.
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Postby linmag » Tue Apr 22, 2003 1:06 am

I think "heard him speak" has to be taken with a little poetic licence. We 'hear' Jesus speak through the Bible. For "heard him speak" read 'heard the christian message', and it starts to make a bit more sense. My feeling so far is that the poem is saying that christianity looks like a good idea, but doesn't stand up to the rigours of 'real' life, leaving the death and resurrection without meaning in the modern world.
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Postby Kush » Tue Apr 22, 2003 1:20 am

Paula.....that was what I thought that one rises up with love and one goes down with death. Having being brought up in a decidedly non-religious secular household, the rest passes me by.
Linmag...i thought your effort at making distinctions between laying, lying, down, on, over, in & under was cool.
Last edited by Kush on Tue Apr 22, 2003 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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