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religious dimension to "gypsy wife..."

Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:02 pm
by zaidagal1
Ive been thinking about a religious angle to this know how in christianity, the church is often called "Gods Bride"...."we" basically are Gods bride....this song could be about God searching for us....and lamenting how far we have strayed from him....

on another note.....why is the song called "the gypsey's wife" and not "the gypsey wife"...

Re: religious dimension to "gypseys wife..."

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:51 pm
by Paula
Zaidagala it is called Gypsy's wife because it is the wife of the Gypsy and although the wife is also a Gypsy it is through the eyes of her husband.

Re: religious dimension to "gypseys wife..."

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:10 pm
by zaidagal1
Hi, thanks for your reply!!!!! I guess I was thinking the "gypsey wife" is a meant to represent a wandering, free spirit, and that the woman in this song is the wanderer! if "he" is also the "gypsey", maybe the title implies he is a wanderer, too....

Re: religious dimension to "gypseys wife..."

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:13 pm
by Paula
To be truthful Zaidagal that is just my take on it I could be completely wrong :lol:

Re: religious dimension to "gypseys wife..."

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:10 am
by bridger15
Paula wrote:Zaidagala it is called Gypsy's wife because it is the wife of the Gypsy and although the wife is also a Gypsy it is through the eyes of her husband.
I just happened to see this interesting thread.
I think that Paula's interpretation reflects LC's own comments about the genesis of the song in Harry Rasky's documentary, "The Song of Leonard Cohen". LC referred to the impending break up with his "wife", Suzanne Elrod.


Re: religious dimension to "gypseys wife..."

Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:49 pm
by Vicomte
The problem, as I see it and it may only be me but I feel too many people wish to read far too much into some of Leonard Cohen's songs.

I said in a post on here that Pete Townsend once said he hadn't go a clue as to how, or why he wrote many of his song lyrics, too many were written whilst under the influence of brandy and other substances.

I won't put Leonard into that "band" but time goes by and those melancholy and oft thoughtful words one puts down on paper are lost in time, as to why they were put there in the first place.

So not necessarily with that in mind, here is why Leonard wrote Gypsy Wife, it's simplicity itself and no religious or other higher agenda involved. ;-)

And Arlene knew that ;-) ... re=related

Re: religious dimension to "gypseys wife..."

Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:08 pm
by zaidagal1
I must respectfully disagree with the last poster! I have heard Leonard Cohen say that he is always pleased when his songs can be read on many levels, and when people find meaning in them that HE didnt even know they had....that thats the beauty of poetry and, even if Gypseys Wife is a lovely, sad song about his break up with his wife, it doesnt mean that its wrong/inappropriate, etc, to find other levels within it. There are some songs that he says he wrote with deliberate multi-meanings (halleluah, for example) and others where he had an idea, but because of the poetry and imagery he uses, other people find other meanings....

Re: religious dimension to "gypseys wife..."

Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:28 am
by Vicomte
Fair enough, we are all entitled to post our own views on this forum.

So one writes what one feels and then anyone else can read something else into that poem/song? Rather takes away the reality of how the writer felt when he was writing it.

Having said that, during my time in education, we had to read Shakespeare and then speak about what his meaning actually was in the piece in discussion. I remember thinking, what would Will have thought had he listened into our class on these occasions. Luckily Leonard is still alive and can inform us of his meanings in some of his songs. If he tells us why and what he was writing a piece about, then I have no want to make up my own mind, I feel it would be rather like telling L.C that he never meant what he wrote and what others think is correct :lol: ;-) Any second meanings are purely in our own minds but sure, every now and again we can convince Leonard that our meanings are as valid as his were, or can we?

Re: religious dimension to "gypseys wife..."

Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:02 pm
by zaidagal1
again, I must respectully disagree....coming up with an interpretation is in NO WAY telling the writer (of a poem or song) that thier own meaning is not true/valid/the best meaning, etc...on the contrary, seeing multiple layers and meanings is a total compliment to the writer...and the few poets I know about have all said that is one of the beauties of poetry, and one of the compliments they get, as poets, to have people discuss and interpret their work.....I think you are taking what I said, and turning it into something else? You seem to feel quite strongly about this!

Re: religious dimension to "gypseys wife..."

Posted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:08 am
by Vicomte
zaidagal1 wrote:............... You seem to feel quite strongly about this!
No, not at all. I left a smile and a wink, not sure what else I could have done to keep it light.

You see, you have read something that was not there and I had to explain. Thus LC writes something and he knows why he did and you want to find something else. I find that bizarre as the only person who really knows is Leonard and if he informs people why he wrote something, then that is what I will believe. I don't try to look for any other meaning but if others want to find another meaning, then so be it.

Yes, you will respectfully disagree again but hey, there you go ;-)

Re: religious dimension to "gypseys wife..."

Posted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:34 am
by zaidagal1
you know what, you are right, you did put a smiley face to lighten your comments!!!!!!! Maybe its me getting too serious...:)

Re: religious dimension to "gypseys wife..."

Posted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:35 pm
by remote1
I think I agree with both of you actually. The poet, writer or lyricist's conscious and intended meaning is clearly paramount, but this does not mean that the piece of work does not hold a wealth of other layers. These are also relevant in the sense that they originate in the writer's own cultural background, and their emotional landscape, which is not necessarily accessible to them on a conscious plane. For instance, I think that when someone who is deeply religious writes about the break up with their wife, the immediate intention being just that, to talk about the break up, it may still be possible to find deep in the text traces of that religious mindset that the author has.

In terms of The Gypsy's Wife, I think it is difficult not to see a religious dimension in lines such as:
"My body is the light, my body is the way" ("the light" and "the way" being an allusion to Christ)

and in a stanza such as:
"Too early for the rainbow, too early for the dove
These are the final days, this is the darkness, this is the flood
And there is no man or woman who can't be touched
But you who come between them will be judged"
(allusion to the Apocalypse)

The narrator here is, I believe, describing the loss of his wife, but perceiving this in a deeply religious way; for him, it's literally the end of the world... If LC is not aware of this aspect of his poem (which I very much doubt), then I still believe that this layer of meaning is relevant. ;-)

Re: religious dimension to "gypsy wife..."

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:41 pm
by sebmelmoth2003
photographer richard young picked the gypsy's wife as one of his favourite tracks on a bbc radio london programme - gary crowley's london - 27 minutes into programme approx.

richard explains how leonard gave him permission to measure his inside leg

richard was working in a clothes shop.

leonard's leg measurement - 31"

richard went for a coffee with leonard and they bonded over an interest in herman hesse. ... nard-cohen