Thanks Ann, I'm glad you like it!TipperaryAnn wrote:Your "experiment" sounds good to me, Remote1, It suits the lyrics very well. I like the idea of mindfulness for the "Then at home ..." verse, and the struggle between mare and rider. What about "Who snaps it asunder.. " though? Your version has a" happy ending", whereas the union is broken again "the very next night" : it seems to me to end with wistful longing rather than contentment, and he picks out a song to try to dispel his regrets with the power of music.
As you say, there are so many layers in Leonard's songs - that's why we love them, but it is fun trying to see them all !
I see your point about "Who snaps it asunder.. " and I like your idea that he tries to "dispel his regrets with the power of music". This is certainly a particularly ambiguous part, although Holydove's latest post helps the overall interpretation greatly.
So we have:
"Now the clasp of this union
who fastens it tight?
Who snaps it asunder
the very next night
Some say the rider
Some say the mare
Or that love's like the smoke
beyond all repair
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"
I see a happy ending because in the last stanza, Leonard refers to his "darling", and she is talking to him. I originally understood "they" in the last stanza to refer to "some" in "Some say the rider / Some say the mare". And I saw the questioning about the rider and the mare as gossip from the others, the one's who do not get the unique relationship that they have. And so the mare encourages the rider to dismiss the others' worldly concerns as irrelevant, which he does with a song, "and they move right along /and they're gone like the smoke /and they're gone like this song".
However, I now wonder if this is too far-fetched (?). Perhaps the union is not such a peaceful one after all, but one which involves a daily struggle. And it seems towards the end that the whole episode is just a dream, a fantasy, something which can only last for the length of a song. Holydove speaks of Zen having stages of "taming the (wild) mind". Perhaps taming the mind, finding one's spiritual side, is something that needs to be worked on repeatedly. I understand that meditation is this practice, which must be sustained daily, presumably so that the mind does not wander back to old habits...
Or perhaps Leonard Cohen is just describing the experience of an epiphany.
I wonder what you and others think is the most likely interpretation, or if you understand the text in a totally different way. It would be cool if you could give your opinion.
@Holydove: So sorry to hear about the back injury. Could it be sympathetic pain, I wonder? Hope you get well soon! Looking forward to hearing more about the stages of taming the mind, and your thoughts about the song.