My take on "Take This Waltz"

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
river’s disguise
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My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby river’s disguise » Sun Dec 21, 2003 5:43 pm

1st Part of the Story
Now in vienna there’s ten pretty women(A tribute to the original song)
There’s a shoulder where death comes to cry (I'm thinking a church)
There’s a lobby with nine hundred windows (Churches are known for thier windows)
There’s a tree where the doves go to die (My only guess is that he's talking about a war maybe? Tree throws me off)
There’s a piece that was torn from the morning (The death of a really young soldier)
And it hangs in the gallery of frost (The grave yard is full of "frozen" people...or stiffs...rigamortis is the cause)
Ay, ay, ay, ay (A cry of pain and sadness)
Take this waltz, take this waltz (Giving this waltz to those who fell)
Take this waltz with the clamp on it’s jaws (unsure)

(This pause coudl be the end of one part of the story)
2nd Part of the Story
Oh I want you, I want you, I want you (Sounds liek someone is fallen in love)
On a chair with a dead magazine (He's willing to take her anywhere and the dead magazine a tribute to the fallen soldier/s no inhabitions at all)
In the cave at the tip of the lily (Now it gets naughty...This ones almost self explanitory provided you know that the "lily" is another term for and womans...*clears throat* So yeah to make love...)
In some hallways where love’s never been (Not only to make love but to take her virginaty away. I coudl get graphic and explain in detail but I don't think I need, should nor have to.)
On a bed where the moon has been sweating (From evening to morning...or in other terms.."All night long!")
In a cry filled with footsteps and sand (No clue)
Ay, ay, ay, ay (The crys of love making)
Take this waltz, take this waltz (He's presenting a forum of love...a waltz...)
Take it’s broken waist in your hand (Asking her to take this forum that I think has been delt a crippling blow...the age of rock and roll had hurt the eras of old...classical, broque and even the waltz. That's me long shot guess! *L*)

(Yet another part to this story)
3rd Part of the Story
This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz (A cry for a loss of an era?)
With it’s very own breath of brandy and death (An era that is in a sence wasting and withering away, some people waste and wither away with booze..and much like the waltz I'd say that brandy is on it's way to wither away from common use. Or brandy was a drink served then. I'm not to sure.)
Dragging it’s tail in the sea (I've heard of a phrase or expression..some to the extent of "dragging ones self into the sea"...meaning to die and go back to the earth that you came from. So I suppose it's meaning is the same?)
There’s a concert hall in vienna (Vienna a place where much of the old era music still place..where many many songs, waltz etc. were created or drived from.)

Where your mouth had a thousand reviews (Millions of people [through the ages] have come to listen to the music that would play there.)
There’s a bar where the boys have stopped talking (Meaning that the time of the Waltz has past and thier creators at a loss of inspiration)
They’ve been sentenced to death by the blues (A continuation of the last line...for a loss of inspiratin and a waltz to revive the old era death of this forum of music it all but spent)
Ah, but who is it climbs to your picture (unsure if it's not...Many pictures and halls carry the joyus times of that era)
With a garland of freshly cut tears? (A sad time, a time of tears, when an Era has lost it's popularity and those who have lived for those times had no where to go)
Ay, ay, ay, ay (A cry of pity and sadness)
Take this waltz, take this waltz (Trying to give those who have lost thier era a place once more.)
Take this waltz it’s been dying for years (A plea of help to try to save a dying era)

(Back to the "Second Part of the Story years later...)
Part 2 of the Second Part of the Story
There’s an attic where children are playing (Tryign to get away from the stresses of life and maturity)
Where I’ve got to lie down with you soon (To get away and share long missed quality time together)
In a dream of hungarian lanterns (I have no clue)
In the mist of some sweet afternoon (He mentioned sweet afternoon...as if he were reminicing...so both lover are remembering days long passed (either they are parents of grown kids or grandparents)
And I’ll see what you’ve chained to your sorrow (My guess is that they are getting together as is business or other thigns have gotten in thier way and are now finally able to be there for eachother from now on.)
All your sheep and your lilies of snow (I have no idea)
Ay, ay, ay, ay (A cry of happiness and relief)
Take this waltz, take this waltz (Asking her to take this thing of beauty that joined them many years ago and remember)
With it’s I’ll never forget you, you know! (Telling her that he'll always remember thier bond and first time as lovers)

This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz ... (The singing of all that has happend all the stories bing tied up together one way or another...I say this by the number of times he says "Take this waltz")

And I’ll dance with you in vienna (He'll take her to a place of love and romance and to a place long forgotten)
I’ll be wearing a river’s disguise (A symbold of ever going, ever flowing never dryign, never stoping...and in this case it's his love for her)
The hyacinth wild on my shoulder, (He's wearing a colorful flower on his shoulder...a tradition at promes and other occations...the tradition behind that has been lost upon my generation but I woudl not be suprised if that's what he means.)
My mouth on the dew of your thighs (Hehehe...technically he's eating her out...but as I see it he is making love to her once again...a pure pleasure for her alone. His need and want to make her feel good/happy...despite the encumbants of time. I would say)
And I’ll bury my soul in a scrapbook, (my very favorite...His confesion of true pure love telling her he'll be there forever. His soul...his life as it is through the years to be seen with her in a scrapbook...a place where you keep pictures...and memories..memories together)
With the photographs there, and the moss (part two of my favorite...Like I said pictures together...but not only that his wants to have many over the years so many years they see moss...in other words...He wants to grow old with her...soulmates)
And I’ll yield to the flood of your beauty (His heart and soul stop at the site of her beauty. He sees her as the most beautiful woman in the world...from what she looks like to what she does...he loves all her idiosyncrasies)
My cheap violin and my cross (He's modest about his talents...cheap violin...and my cross...loyal to God. Humbled for all that he has.)
And you’ll carry me down on your dancing (He will be happy being by her side until he dies)
To the pools that you lift on your wrist (I have no clue)
Oh my love, oh my love (A cry of true passion and true love)
Take this waltz, take this waltz (A plea...a dying mans plea asking his soulmate to take what he has left (the waltz/love/memories..you name it) for her and never let go)
It’s yours now. it’s all that there is (His way of saying the man has passed on and that the "waltz" is what's left.)

I personally think the "Waltz" is a symbol...a symbol of love...true love...and yet I also think he truely means a Waltz..
And I’ll bury my soul in a scrapbook,
With the photographs there, and the moss
And I’ll yield to the flood of your beauty
My cheap violin and my cross
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Postby lizzytysh » Sun Dec 21, 2003 6:07 pm

Dear River's Disguise ~

I feel both stunned and inspired by the absolute beauty and thought/fullness of your radiant interpretation of this incredible song. You asked us what our thoughts are? I also have a much deeper appreciation of your own choice of name.

Very insight/full. Excellent tying together of your own threads of thought and feeling. I love the way it builds and encompasses the entirety of life. So beautiful, River's Disguise :D . Amazing. Good things are worth waiting for. Thank you for taking the time you needed to put this here. In the traditions of olde, a true love / song ~ a true / love song.

~ Elizabeth
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Ode to Lizzytysh

Postby river’s disguise » Sun Dec 21, 2003 9:15 pm

Words alone could never do,
To show my thanks I offer you.
Here's a poem I give to thee,
Take these words and remember me.

Threw the years I've doughted my intelegence,
Thinking those around me are above my equivalence.
You have helped to cast down my doughtfulness,
So now I sit here filled with viger stoutfulness!

Though the poem is short, not that long,
My thanks unto you, shalll never be gone.


P.S. doughtfulness and stoutfulness are probably not real words but they work well that way ;-)
P.S.S. This poem is orginal, just made and inspired by lizzytysh. I send it here rather than in a PM to lizzytysh for all who read to see my thanks. And enjoy the poem as just that:-)
And I’ll bury my soul in a scrapbook,
With the photographs there, and the moss
And I’ll yield to the flood of your beauty
My cheap violin and my cross
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Postby lizzytysh » Sun Dec 21, 2003 9:30 pm

Thank you for your lovely way of thanking me, River's Disguise. I like it very much :D . You have way too much going for you, intelligence and otherwise, to doubt yourself. Unfortunately, that's not how that kind of thing works :( . You have every right to believe in yourself, and I hope you will :D .

~ Lizzytysh
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Byron
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Postby Byron » Sun Dec 21, 2003 10:44 pm

Welcome River.
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
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Postby Pete » Tue Dec 23, 2003 3:15 pm

Trying to translate Cohen's songs is something many do in their heads but don't usually find the time to put it on paper.
This post by River's Disguise is very inspiring and illustrates the varying levels of access to the songs. All his songs mean different things to different people and River's has inspired me to look again at some of the songs and challenge my own interpretations.

Thanks for the posting, Rivers.

'What are words without meanings?'

regards from

pete
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Byron
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Postby Byron » Tue Dec 23, 2003 8:53 pm

'River's' and 'Pete' got me thinking.
These are my thoughts. For what they are worth. We each bring a different perspective to poetry. This is mine.
They are my personal thoughts which are relevant at the moment, but by this time next week, I may have a completely different point of view. Nothing is carved in stone.

"Now in vienna there’s ten pretty women"

He begins with a reference to Time. This poem is going to be about more than emotions, but about passages of Time and journeys through Time as well.
Vienna is an homage to Lorca. There will always be at least ten pretty women in Vienna. Vienna has the delights of the sensual and sexual through all of its Time for whoever goes there.

"There’s a shoulder where death comes to cry"

Tombstones have 'shoulders' and the dead beneath the tombstone have as much right to cry on its shoulder as the living. And, the living will shortly be joining the dead anyway. No-one lives forever. We are all transient beings, whether we are a pretty woman in Vienna or Quasimodo in Paris.

"There’s a lobby with nine hundred windows"

My Father has many Mansions. We are all to enter His Mansions, and our souls have many windows for the Father to see deep inside us.



There’s a tree where the doves go to die"

Doves being the symbols of Peace also die and their Tree is their Home and our Tree Of Life. Even the peacemakers will perish on the branches of the Tree Of Life.


"There’s a piece that was torn from the morning"

We enter this world with a blank canvas. We are Innocent, but Adam and Eve have stolen our Right To Innocence, which has been Torn from our Souls. We are already doomed from the moment of our birth. Our morning is not a glorious begining to Life Everlasting on This Earth. Our bodies already carry Death within them, even at our Conception. Our Bodies are not Our Souls and we will shed the part of us which becomes corrupted, being our Earthly Bodies. We have to lose our Bodies before we can find the release of our immortal Souls.


"And it hangs in the gallery of frost"

Once again, our bodies, or our Skin, now will hang like parchment in the Valley of The Shadow of Death. But we do not need our bodies or our Skin. Time everlasting has no need of them. It is our Souls which will enjoin with the Father for Eternity.


"Ay, ay, ay, ay "

The representation of our Heart Beat, which will also be left behind as an unnecessary corporeal sea anchor. It repeats and repeats, and that is all it does, as a bodily function. But The Heart has tremendous spiritual and emotional significance for all of us. It cannot be pidgeon holed, but must be taken into account, and hence the repetition to remind us of its importance in our spiritual lives and our relationships, not only with one another, but also with G-d.


"Take this waltz, take this waltz"

You are in a vast ballroom and dancing The Waltz. Close your eyes and imagine what you could see as you held your lover in your arms and swirled around the ballroom. Can you see splashes of colours and a blizzard of faces as you spin your way around the ballroom. For those who cannot dance the waltz, it is an amazing experience. You are as one, as the pair of you look into each other's eyes and are hardly able to take in all that is going on around you. That is how your life together will be.

"Take this waltz with the clamp on it’s jaws"

It is so mesmorising that you are both clinging on to each other for dear life. Neither of you wants to let go. This dance can last a lifetime as long as you keep a tight grip on what you both have.


"Oh I want you, I want you, I want you"

The Act of Love in words. Also the acknowledgement of The Holy Trinity. The Three in One.


"On a chair with a dead magazine"

Death reappears. The chair and the magazine are created from wood. They both owe their existence to the death of the Tree. The Tree of Life continues to wind its way through the words and our lives. We will appear before The Throne Of G-d and our lives will be read out to us from His list which has been the register of all the good and bad we have done through our lives. Also, we sit on the pew in His Church and read from the Bible. The reference to a dead magazine is a reference to the loss of spiirituality which our 'modern' and materialistic world has become.


"In the cave at the tip of the lily"

Creation of man from the vagina of woman. Man is nothing without woman. The coupling of lovers as they become one being in their love. A reference to the Waltz and the dance of life.


"In some hallways where love’s never been"

Falling in love is a venture into the unknown, and death is a fall into the unknown. Be faithful, be hopeful, and put your trust in your heart and your emotions and enjoy what life and Death will bring you. Let go of the strings which bind you to your past. Take that Leap of Faith.


"On a bed where the moon has been sweating"

The Moon has represented Love; a light in the Darkness; a woman's menstrual periods; and if you look at the Art of The Old Masters such as Rubens, we see the moonshaped buttocks, and breasts of representations of beauty and bodies entwined in loving embrace. People have called to the Moon for Life and Love and Rich Harvests for thousands of years. Once again, an oblique reference to Time passing by.


"In a cry filled with footsteps and sand"

Time, and the Sands of Time, as we tread our way through this Veil of Tears, and Cry (about it all again)


"Ay, ay, ay, ay"

The beat of Time never ceases, no matter what we do. No matter how much we suffer. We are all making our way to Death and eternity. It is a cry of anguish for some of us, and a cry of joy for others.


"Take this waltz, take this waltz"

The Dance of Life goes on and we should continue to grab hold of life with both hands and not let go and not forget the journey we have been allowed to go on. Do not become complacent, but always be appreciative of all the swirling colours and blizzards of faces which continue to fly past as we dance our way together through this, Our Life Together.



"Take it’s broken waist in your hand"

Support the frail and weak as we continue to wend our way around the Ballroom Of Life. We will all become frail and weak eventually. Time robs us of our bodies, but 'Take' every opportunity to give aid and sustenance to others. The body will decay, but the Spirit will continue to grow if you nurture it. You have to realise that you are not the centre of the Universe. That 'dead magazine' awaits you and you must never forget it.


"This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz"

Four times we are called to dance. The Waltz is a three step. Therefore we must aspire to be greater than the Dance of Life. To leave behind us something that is greater than what we began with.


"With it’s very own breath of brandy and death"

Death, and spirit. Time and enjoyment. The fruits of our labours will be distilled and tasted by our Lord as we stand before Him


"Dragging it’s tail in the sea"

I have no idea what this means. Suggestions please?


"There’s a concert hall in vienna"

We have left the Ballroom of Life and moved to where our voices can be heard. How truthful have we been? Have our words rung True?


"Where your mouth had a thousand reviews"

We have spoken. Who has heard us? How have we been judged by our peers? Can we face Him with our history of lying? Take heed because you will be Judged.


"There’s a bar where the boys have stopped talking"

The Time has come for the talking to cease. We are standing before the Altar of Life. Can our Souls Sing with joy? Are we ready to sing His praises? Are we worthy to sing to Him, because words are now worthless. Deeds and songs from the Heart are held in measure.


"They’ve been sentenced to death by the blues"

Reality at last for all those people who never thought that they would ever die. "Yes, it's come to this"


"Ah, but who is it climbs to your picture"

Who is worthy to ascend to meet that face of their Lover at the end of their life? The Soulmate of their Life and the Face of Our Lord. Love is now in the balance. How heavy and True has been your Love?


"With a garland of freshly cut tears"

The Tears of True Repentence. Not stored up for using at the appropriate moment, but the genuine heartrendered tears of the Here and Now. The Truth of Your Heart is now layed bare for all to see.


"Ay, ay, ay, ay"

Time continues to tick by, even at this point of your life and death. The poem continues to mirror Time as we progress from its begining to its ending. But the poem will remain and carry others who will follow after us. The poem is a structure which opens our eyes to our lives. We will have passed on but the Dance Of Life will continue.


"Take this waltz, take this waltz"

Two of you have Taken This Waltz. The two of you have danced one Dance. What more could we ask for. Have we danced it well? Did we give it our best effort? Have we been True to The Dance?


"Take this waltz it’s been dying for years"

An echo of the birth we all went through, when we arrived on this Earth with death already within us.


"There’s an attic where children are playing"

Another echo of the lives we have created in our turn. Also a place of innocence. Possibly Heaven.


"Where I’ve got to lie down with you soon"

Total realisation of one's mortality and a complete acceptance of it. This is the Hardest Truth of all.


"In a dream of hungarian lanterns"

Sweet memories which are as individual as we are.


"In the mist of some sweet afternoon"

Long ago joy and contentment, which you are ready to envelop once more as you face your death.


"And I’ll see what you’ve chained to your sorrow"

The Voice of the Poem wants to relieve us of our worldly burdens. All the baggage that we all carry around in our heads and our hearts.


"All your sheep and your lilies of snow"

The Voice will allow our sweetest thoughts and our original innocence as lambs of G-d to be free for eternity.


"Ay, ay, ay, ay"

The mourning of the passing of time and perhaps some regret for words, thoughts, deed, done OR not done?


"Take this waltz, take this waltz"

You are at last being led by someone else in the Dance of your Life and Death. Follow their lead and let yourself go.


"With it’s I’ll never forget you, you know"

But we will have no need to remember it. The remark is rhetorical. We are leaving behind our mortal coil and have no further need for Earthly things. Our souls can at last be free to truly entwine in a way which is far more joyful than the clasping of bodies throughout our dance.


"This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz"

Time is being hammered away here, like the nails in our coffin.


"And I’ll dance with you in vienna"

We will dance in an eternal swirl of colours and blizzard of souls which is far and away more beautiful than our physical presences allowed.


"I’ll be wearing a river’s disguise"

We will intermingle as the waters of a flowing stream. Not a river, but something like a river, which is personal to us two.


"The hyacinth wild on my shoulder"

We've passed through at last and the sweetness of flowers will follow us from the grave.


"My mouth on the dew of your thighs"

Your sweetest memory will not compare with the emotions to follow. Words will not be necessary. Lips do not need to speak to convey love.


"And I’ll bury my soul in a scrapbook"

I will abondon myself to oblivion, to be with you, as you want me to be.


"With the photographs there, and the moss"

Another reference to Time and the futility of trying to capture Time. Those photographs will remain behind and have no relevance to anyone but ourselves, and we will have no need of them. They can join the eternal resurgence and re-growth of the Earth, as the plants do.


"And I’ll yield to the flood of your beauty"

I will drown and be happy to drown in our gaze of one another.


"My cheap violin and my cross"

Forsaking all earthly possessions and even the Cross. Why have an earthly Cross, when we will be with our Lord?


"And you’ll carry me down on your dancing"

Dancing and bobbing like the waters of our Stream as we intermingle forever, willingly and completely.


"To the pools that you lift on your wrist"

Once again, and like River's, I have no idea what this means.


"Oh my love, oh my love
Take this waltz, take this waltz
It’s yours now. it’s all that there is"

Love and the Life of Love will sustain us through eternity, for there is nothing else. And there is no need of anything else.

River's Disguise is an apt nomme de plume for someone venturing into the mainstream of life.

Byron 'sends his regards.'
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
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Heretic
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Postby Heretic » Wed Dec 24, 2003 10:17 am

"To the pools that you lift on your wrist"

Once again, and like River's, I have no idea what this means.
I suspect that most of you don't want to know what this means.
Consider it alongside the "I've got to lie down with you soon."
It all gets rather depressing.
What a suprise for a Cohen song.
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Byron
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Postby Byron » Wed Dec 24, 2003 4:28 pm

Heretic, if you are talking about masturbation, then say it, and don't pussyfoot around like some schoolboy embarrassed because he daren't say the word, 'wank.' Or should we call you a wanker, because you could not bring yourself to substantiate, that to which you alluded? You proved your point by shying away from it. I call that shallow. Why not join this thread and give your own personal commentary on 'Take This Waltz.'? Just once, it would be pleasing to have a piece of thoughtful precis from you. How about it? If you have the time, take the time to give the readers another perspective on lc's words. Seriously, I am asking you to join in here and play an important part in considering the poem/song. I for one, will not attack you for your views, but would appreciate a different slant on what we are discussing.
Byron.
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
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Postby Heretic » Wed Dec 24, 2003 7:17 pm

OK
Precis.
They were in love.
She committed suicide.
He is about to.
The end.
(P.S. Byron, you might want to seek professional help about this masturbation fixation of yours.)
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Byron
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Postby Byron » Wed Dec 24, 2003 9:29 pm

Thanks H. I knew I could rely on you to give me a Hand.
But to be honest, I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous, in situations like this. B.
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
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Postby George.Wright » Thu Dec 25, 2003 4:17 am

Hairy Tick, the suicide i could work out.
Byron, the offer was made to the snipe, if he chooses to continue wanking, circle six will be busy.
The song itself, which i presume we are all still debating about, is one of the most beautiful pieces of poetry EVER set to Music.
Georges
I am a right bad ass, dankish prince and I love my Violet to bits.
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Been a while

Postby river’s disguise » Fri Jan 09, 2004 10:46 am

Since I was the orignal poster of the post...hehe...I feel that I shoudl respond to the posts laid out. I see where you are coming from Byron it is nice to hear other peoples thoughts on this beautiful piece for art. Heretic Thank you to for your interprataion...albeit a little morbid and consice still good to hear other peoples views. George.Wright you are very much correct...I can't really tell you how much I love this song...esp. now that is has opened me up to a whole new world!

Please forgive my absences I was stricken with a very bad illness that I still have not totally recoverd from. Take care all.
And I’ll bury my soul in a scrapbook,
With the photographs there, and the moss
And I’ll yield to the flood of your beauty
My cheap violin and my cross
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Postby kieron » Fri Jan 09, 2004 2:39 pm

A wonderful thread, thank you RD and welcome to the site. The best way to increase our understanding and appreciation for Leonards work is through shared analysis and discussion. I too am in awe of this beautiful piece and am delighted to have my own interpretation supported and enhanced by this dicussion.

Kieron
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Postby jurica » Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:31 pm

"To the pools that you lift on your wrist"
I'm afraid I'm not into Garcia Lorca enough to realy be able to tell if this is Leonard's atempt to rewrite his poem and express it's origial emotion, or he used parts of it to tell his own story... But, Heretic sound right to me from both perspectives.
I do know that Lorca was obsesed with death (the poem about balcony, then the other one about Cordoba...), and Leonard did use similar form when talking about suicide ('then the veins stand out like highways all along your wrist').

And further more, about ay ay ay thing...
Tom will correct me if I'm wrong. I can't speak Spanish, but I think that in Croatian traslation (I've read quite some time ago, and therefore I'm not sure if I remember right) the words were: joj joj joj, meaning: 'auch, auch, auch'. Perhaps that's what they mean here: cry of pain.

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