Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:23 pm

Thank you for sharing B4! I can't help but wonder what was so grim about the summer of 2007 in Montreal.
Still, I love that poem, especially the last lines at the bottom of the print.

Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby LisaLCFan » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:20 pm

vlcoats wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:23 pm
...I can't help but wonder what was so grim about the summer of 2007 in Montreal....
Just a guess, but perhaps it had something to do with the fact that 2007 was the year that Leonard decided (concluded?) that he had to go back on tour to make some money, because his former manager (Kelly Lynch) had stolen every cent from his bank account, he was flat broke, and it was clear that suing her was pointless since she'd spent all the money and was also broke (or at least, that's how the story goes, from what I've read).

So, I think that realising that one is flat broke and has to go back to work at the age of 72 or 73 after having been more-or-less retired for many years would be rather grim.
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:56 am

Vickie,
As always, my pleasure!

Lisa,
That's a great guess and probably has a lot to do with it!
It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to B4real ~ me
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Sun Nov 24, 2019 1:49 am

Fifty-two days ago "Along the Way" attained zero energy. Zero energy like when a smoldering ember in the fireplace fades and fades and then changes from dull orange to gray, no longer able or willing to radiate light.

But our work here is not yet completed!

I have just listened to some new songs that demand our attention. The purist would say, these are not really new songs, they were not really created by LC. The lyrics, of course, are LC's, cold, deep, and real, but the music was attached by others. Music far different, perhaps, than a younger and healthier LC would have been comfortable with. But, of course, neither us nor LC wound up having any choice in the matter.

I tried to comprehend the difficult--almost impossible--task of composing music to fit the lyrics of the songs on "Thanks for the Dance." How would one begin to do that? Perhaps there had been some very preliminary discussions with LC about the music, but probably not, all efforts were being directed to completing "You Want It Darker." Composing the music ultimately fell on those who had been involved with Leonard's last albums in his final years and months. I for one felt a tremendous sense of relief when I listened to "Thanks for the Dance." I had two fears. First, I feared that the the music attached to LC's lyrics would not rise to the level of appropriateness that LC himself would have demanded. And second, I feared that it would pretty much be impossible to seamlessly mix LC's lyric recitations with the music that was decided on. In almost all cases, these fears were all for naught. I offer my profound thanks to all that were involved in turning LC's spoken words into an authentic and, in every sense of the word, real, album.

We have all listened to LC songs a hundred times, and then on the hundredth-and-first listen, discovered a new meaning, a new interpretation, some nuance of what was there all the time, but which we did not notice. Thus, I will not waste anyone's time by commenting on or trying to interpret the songs of "Thanks for the Dance" after just my first listen. All of this will be much fodder for "Along the Way" going forward. I am looking forward to continuing this journey with my friends here!

4
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
2017 NOVEMBER 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby Jean Fournell » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:44 pm

So here we get going again...

The album "Thanks for the Dance" is a worthy epilogue to "our man's" oeuvre, at least as far as "true-opinion" can see ("true-opinion" in the sense of the Greek philosopher Plato).
It is good to witness such faithful stewardship as is obvious here.

The work on these songs has taken place to a vast extent in parallel to the production of "You Want It Darker" only, they could not be finished. Here again (in the production process), "true-opinion" allows humans to perceive that something is missing, or wrong, or should be removed.
And since the folks around Leonard Cohen did not work for or against him, but with him (just remember the solo performances in the concerts), they will have understood those things pretty much the way he himself did. The result of this ultimate album of our "Unconvincing Zen monk" (as he calls himself in "Not a Jew" and what would a convincing Zen monk be?) is as (un)convincing as one could wish.

The album is true.
It is giving impulses rather than finished-ness.
I suppose that we're supposed to be big boys and girls now, and that we're supposed to "Go tell the young messiah…"
After all, young messiahs have to learn their stuff somewhere, don't they.
As for those who might prefer to find fault: "You were born to judge the world / Forgive me but I wasn't".

Which leads me straight to "The Night of Santiago".
I'm still obsessed from spending some 40 working hours on my translation of Federico García Lorca's "La casada infiel" (plus the time in between those hours).
This does not mean that the result (https://leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic ... 16&t=38733) is any good; it only means that my Spanish and my English are rather poor but still :
I'm fascinated by the frankly chivalrous answer Leonard Cohen's gypsy is giving the maliciously offensive revenge of the original gypsy.
("Like a knight from some old-fashioned book" or should it be Like a night…?)

Also, I hope that knowing the identity of what Leonard Cohen just calls "something pretty" helps decoding why his gypsy "waited 'til she laughed", and why without his patient presence the gift would have made her "sad".

And therewith: over to the next contributor…

EDIT: corrected two unforgivable typos.
Last edited by Jean Fournell on Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Mon Nov 25, 2019 5:51 am

4 and Jean,

Like Curt, I will wait to comment on my impressions. We have just come back from a family memorial, and I have only had a chance to listen to Thanks for the Dance twice. Also, like Curt and Jean, I am struck by its perfection and an appreciation to those who brought it forward to us. I recognize many of the words from Leonard's poetry and can hear his heart and soul in the music, as it was so obviously shared by everyone who contributed to this album. I thank Adam and Javier and all of those, young and old, that created it.

It was hard, with all the chatter here and on social media, to wait until I had the CD in my hands to listen to any of of it. I asked poor Dave to read the lyrics as we drove down the coast to the memorial, because I had the first shift driving, and I was anxious to hear the CD. It was early morning, and he complained for a moment that it was too difficult to read in the thin and bumpy light and asked why couldn't I just listen to the CD first and read the lyrics later! But he gave in easily... knowing why already.

As I listened for the first time, I had the same thought as 4.... no matter what my first impressions were, like with all of Leonard's albums, I would have so many more!

I also loved Jean's quote regarding those who prefer to find fault. The words "You were born to judge the world / Forgive me but I wasn't" also struck me when I heard them. However, I haven't been reading any of the posts on the forum about the new album, and now I am not sure if I want to read them at all. Hopefully people weren't finding fault before it was even released?

I don't think of our thread as ever having zero energy. The same energy is here, just like any other thoughts or feelings that are uttered or recorded. It would be like saying Plato's or Nietzsche's, or even Leonard's words themseves, have no energy because they are no longer contributing to them. Not that I am comparing our words to them.... but don't our grandfather's words have energy even though they are gone and their words were likely neither famous nor profound? I will forever remember what I have learned here. I loved how 4 compared it to smoldering embers. It reminded me of what Leonard said about poetry being the ashes of a life well lived.

I will venture one tenuous comment about Thanks For the Dance. On the first and second listen, my favorite words were... "Every soul is like a minnow. Every mind is like a shark." ... A depth of meaning there..... souls being what they are.

Missed you all!
Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:57 am

vlcoats wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:40 am
I am making a wish regarding the track It's Torn and guessing it will be related to the poster I received from 4 after we attended the Tower of Song tribute in Montreal.....
And your wish has been granted!
vlcoats wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:23 pm
Thank you for sharing B4! I can't help but wonder what was so grim about the summer of 2007 in Montreal.
Still, I love that poem, especially the last lines at the bottom of the print.
In all the flurry about the album, I had forgotten those last lines and what you said about them! So in case you don't read the album thread, I thought it wouldn't go astray to add here what I had to say about that song and Leonard - https://www.leonardcohenforum.com/viewt ... 20#p373087
B4real wrote: ↑
Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:43 am
Love this archetypal LC line from It's Torn in the Quietus one -
One of the darkest tracks, ‘Its Torn’ employs a murky tone alongside moments of simple brilliance, with typical commentary on an unknown topic: ‘the lie in what’s holy, the light in what’s not’.
I have listened to all the songs and noted the different lines and changes in all these poems/songs and I have to say that my first encounter with that different line and the song It’s Torn above has turned out to be the song I am drawn to the most at the moment. Maybe because it’s nearly all new words and not so familiar as the other songs. Time will tell. But I need to say, “Thank you, Leonard, Adam and all!”

I was watching a movie recently and at the end the theme song title and its words instantly reminded me of Leonard and how dedicated he was to leaving us with those words that meant so much to him. What he has left us will forever remain with us and ‘always live in these walls’. I hope no one minds if I post the link and the lyrics here because I see him in them; in the past, the present and in the future. Btw - I’ve altered a repeated word to suit his voice ;-) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiqOUeYasLE

The Mystery Of Your Gift
A single note passes out of the ashes
A flickering ember begins
It’s the courage to turn when the pages have burned
And your story now seems at an end
Seasons stay and seasons go
Sending your memories adrift
It’s the beautiful longing, embrace the unknown
That’s the mystery of your gift

And the echoes of your melody will always live in these walls
And the lessons that you gave to me, before you can fly, you must fall
It’s the beautiful longing, embrace the unknown
That’s the mystery of your gift

There’s a voice in the shadow calling for more
There’s a rhythm that beats from within
Lending your voice to the warmth of the song
There’s a strength in the choir of one
Pure as the voice that sees the place where the weight of your past may now lift
It’s the beautiful longing, embrace the unknown
That’s the mystery of your gift

And the echoes of your melody will always live in these walls
And the lessons that you gave to me, before you can fly you must fall
So sing lower & lower, a thousand new voices ring through
If you sing out of the fire, the courage you need comes from you

And the echoes of your melody will always live in these walls
And the lessons that you gave to me, before you can fly, you must fall
It’s the beautiful longing, embrace the unknown
That’s the mystery of your gift

It’s the beautiful longing, embrace the unknown
That’s the mystery of your gift

EDIT:
As I post this, an interesting coincidence is I have just noticed that same movie with the above song in it is on TV here today Mon 25 Nov in 1 hour and 20 mins :)
It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to B4real ~ me
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:41 pm

Thank you B4 for your always revealing thoughts and back-story information on lyrics

I noticed on Instagram that people are already declaring a favorite song on TFTD, but I don't know how they can, given the truth that 4 pointed out-- the more you hear Leonard's words, the more you discover. But I did note that B4 said only that It's Torn was the song she were most drawn to at the moment. I love it also, as well as Moving On, Happens to the Heart, The Night in Santiago, The Goal, and The Hills. Wait! Am I about to list them all!? :D

A note about the music... the transporting mood of The Night of Santiago, the ominous heart of It's Torn that tugs you along, the sad beauty of Moving On, etc....it is all so perfect! I love hearing Javier play, and just knowing it was all largely composed by Adam makes the music even more special.

Which song to talk about first? Happens to the Heart? It is the first one, after all. I have purposely not read other posts or reviews about TFTD except for what has been said here, in hopes that I will hear what you all think first. I have already said what my favorite line is in it (Every soul is like a minnow, every mind is like a shark...). It makes me think of how slippery our souls can be, while our minds want to control and overtake everything...letting the soul sometimes slip away. Do any of you have a favorite line in Happens to the Heart?

Vickie
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Jean Fournell
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby Jean Fournell » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:16 pm

Well, my favourite line from "Happens to the Heart" is in my signature…
Ever since the poem was published, I perceive it as Leonard Cohen's last word and testament here on the forum. The song strikes me as older, but not less important.
The "guessing blessing" seem complementary, a bit like "Sincerely, L. Cohen Sincerely, a friend".
As for the game "Sharks and Minnows" (or "British Bulldog"), I'm not familiar with it, and so I'll have to muster the patience one day and read what Wikipedia says about it.



Thanks to Maarten's post
https://www.leonardcohenforum.com/viewt ... 90#p373188
I found the background vocals of Sílvia Pérez Cruz, in "Moving On" (with Mariza Rizou, thus hard to distinguish), and in "The Night of Santiago".

Since I can't find Sílvia Pérez Cruz performing Federico García Lorca's "La casada infiel", here (just to get her voice) a link to a performance of Federico García Lorca's "Pequeño vals vienés" (to the melody of "Take This Waltz"):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vx5CW0Vyvi8

Text and translation of "Pequeño vals vienés" can be found here:
https://www.leonardcohenforum.com/viewt ... 45#p371145
And a few comments on my translation can be found here:
https://leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic ... 30#p371146
and here: https://leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic ... 30#p371174 (below the drawing).




The more I listen to the album "Thanks for the Dance", the more its importance seems to dawn on me.
It is kind of overwhelming that anybody should be able to give expression to those things…
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:54 pm

Jean,
Thank you for the link of Sílvia Pérez Cruz singing Pequeño vals vienés. How very, very beautiful!
And yes, I did recognize your signature in the song (and poem) and have often wondered why you chose that particular line.
Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby Jean Fournell » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:43 am

Vickie, I'm glad you liked that performance.
A woman (and such a woman!) singing, embodying a homosexual man's orgasm to a tune by a heterosexual man yes, it's very, very beautiful!

Did you ever try to read my signature as one single sentence?
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:50 pm

I have refrained from reading comments about the new songs so my impressions would not be influenced.

"Happens to the Heart" is the first song on the album, so I guess that is a good starting point for discussion.

The music for "Happens to the Heart" is astounding. That, as much as the lyrics, is what prompted my initial reaction: Wow. It appears that the music had, at least partially, come together before Leonard recorded the words, because his vocals fit in seemlessly. Adam has the music credit, but I would bet that Javier alone was responsible for the little laud embellishments that fit in so perfectly. Like the music for "Steer You Way" on YWID, the music here is every bit as good as anything the man did over his career. There are numerous musicians listed in the credits for "Happens to the Heart," but all I really hear is Javier's laud and some piano.

The lyrics deal with three aspects of "the heart." First there is what I will call (for lack of a better word although I searched for one) the "aspirational." This is the part of one's self, or heart, that is concerned with one's calling, or mission in life. Second, there is the carnal aspect, love and relationships. And third, there is the spiritual.

In "Happens to the Heart" Cohen deals with each of these aspects of the heart in different verses:

Verse 1 (I was always working steady...) Aspirational.
Verse 2 (There's a mist of summer kisses...) Carnal.
Verse 3 (I was selling holy trinkets...) Carnal.
Verse 4 (I should have seen it coming...) Carnal.
Verse 5 (Now the angel's got a fiddle...) Spiritual.
Verse 6 (Then I studied with this begger...) Spiritual.
Verse 7A (I was always working steady...) Aspirational.
Verse 7B (I had no trouble betting...) ?
Verse 8 (I was handy with a rifle...) ?

Every verse except the abbreviated Verse 8 end with "What happens to the heart." When I first read/heard the lyrics, I thought of that phrase as a question being posed, but obviously that is not the case. In the song this phrase is not a question, it is an answer or a realization; for example, something a cardiologist might say: "If one continues to have elevated cholesterol, what happens to the heart is that its arteries become clogged."

As you can see, I am unable to assign Verse 7B and Verse 8 to any category. Instead, they seem to portray some profound conclusions that Cohen has come to at the end of his life.

Three exquisite, and totally Cohenesque, lyrics, at least to me, are:

"In the prison of the gifted
I was friendly with the guards"

"Now the angel's got a fiddle
The devil's got a harp."

"I had no trouble betting
On the flood against the ark"

A real enigma with "Happens to the Heart" is the short Verse 8:

"I was handy with a rifle
my father's .303
I fought for something final
Not the right to disagree"

The only interpretation I have come up with is, "you know, thinking back, the words I wrote all these years were really on the mark, and now I should tell you, I wrote them not as idle opinions, but as something you might learn from." This is something Cohen would probably never have said...except maybe as a final thought.

Avidly looking forward to hearing others' thoughts.

4
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
2017 NOVEMBER 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:36 am

its4inthemorning wrote: A real enigma with "Happens to the Heart" is the short Verse 8:
"I was handy with a rifle
my father's .303
I fought for something final
Not the right to disagree"
The only interpretation I have come up with is, "you know, thinking back, the words I wrote all these years were really on the mark, and now I should tell you, I wrote them not as idle opinions, but as something you might learn from." This is something Cohen would probably never have said...except maybe as a final thought.
Yes 4!

I think I agree with your assessment for the most part… these are not idle opinions; they are more essential than that, but the more I listen to Happens to the Heart, the more I wonder if it really was just about what happens to us romantically? I know that sounds oversimplified, but as we get older, don't we often find out that many things are much simpler than we thought at first?

Anyway, 'romance'... as we all know... has more ways than to mess with us than just sex! It lives in all of the things you mention, including aspiration and the spirit. When you truly love someone, they are your partner in everything, not just sex. They meet you eye to eye and open your heart and see in your 'soul', even if just for a moment. They understand the things that make your heart beat faster... all of those things that make your heart beat faster, even the ones that don't have to do with sex. To me, on this album, Leonard is talking about those things. All of those matters of the heart.

A couple random thoughts about this song…

In the verse starting with “I should have seen it coming…” I wonder if he was talking about Suzanne. Namely because of his words, “Just to look at her was trouble,” and “Sure, we played a stunning couple.” This wild guess is based on the idea that while many feel Leonard and Marianne were a perfect couple, Leonard and Suzanne were certainly stunning, with their mutual dark looks and sultry-brooding personas, and I can't get away from the feeling that while their children completed Leonard, their relationship was troubled.

My favorite verse remains the one after that, and not just for the line “Every soul is like a minnow, every mind is like a shark” (which to me has nothing to do with the game Sharks and Minnows but was chosen for the obvious juxtaposition of those images), but I also love the use of the word ‘window’ here, as in any of his songs, and I love how he said he "cares but very little" what happens to the heart...... In my mind that’s because he has already exploded the code on that! ;-)

As for your enigma 4, regarding the words, "I fought for something final, Not the right to disagree"... in my mind, Leonard might be saying that what he has been trying to fight for (and stand for) all along, and the only real thing that matters to him, is something that there can be no disagreement for, because what disagreement can there be for the truth? None, of course.

4- you said your initial reaction to this song was "Wow". The more I listen to this album, the more my reaction to the whole thing is Wow! As you know, I work full time at a fairly stressful job now. It is about 20 minutes from our house. I listen to nothing but Leonard in both directions. I normally pick one album and listen to it on replay for one or two weeks. They are all great companions. In fact, sometimes I have a hard time switching to the next album, but I will be listening to this one for awhile!
its4inthemorning wrote:Avidly looking forward to hearing others' thoughts.4
I agree!

Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:32 am

Vickie,

Re the short Verse 8, if we conjecture that the words are dealing solely with romantic relationships, they take on a bit of a disagreeable tone: "I wanted our love to work, our relationship to last, but it had to be all on my terms." Disagreeable or not, your interpretation carries a lot of weight. However, I predict that someone else will come up with another logical interpretation that we have missed.

Curiously, I too think of Suzanne Elrod when I hear the "I should have seen it coming" line, and for the same reasons. I cannot imagine him saying "Just to look at her was trouble" about his muse Marianne.

Since you took us to another level by focusing a verse, I will do so too.

"Then I studied with this beggar
He was filthy, he was scarred
By the claws of many women
He had failed to disregard
No fable here, no lesson
No singing meadowlark
Just a filthy beggar guessing
What happens to the heart"

Now, I might have been influenced by the video, but as I read these words I feel they must be referencing Roshi. After all, Cohen did study with Roshi, Roshi was fascinated with women, and ultimately that fascination caused scars (the public allegations of sexual misconduct). Does this verse strike anyone else the same way?

Re listening to Cohen while commuting, I am so very thankful that the last time I had to commute to work was in 1984. There was a price to pay for this luxury, however, for me commuting was the only time I listened to music on the radio. As a result, I am sure I have missed out on hearing many worthy artists and groups--at least up through the time that the concept of "a tune" began to be gradually excised from modern music.

4
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
2017 NOVEMBER 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby Jean Fournell » Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:45 am

Hey, that's a lot of input! Good thoughts, the two of you!

For my part, I'm wandering off into details quite a bit, so my contribution (at least for now) is somewhat meagre. Here's what I can come up with so far:

● I'm struck by the 3 + 1 quality of the album feels to me as though the previous three albums had only just been a preparation for this one. But I'm too intimately touched by this phenomenon to discuss it in public, at least for the time being.

● Methinks, the song "Happens to the Heart" is an earlier version of the poem, and that Leonard Cohen kept working on the text until he asked Jarkko to post it on the forum:
https://leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=36741

And even then, within a few hours, the following changes were made:
S5L7 was changed from
"You give in and then it's simple" to "You say Uncle, then it's simple"
S6L7 was changed from
"I lost my job defending" to "I got this job defending"

(Since due to these modifications I had to look up "say Uncle", I learned that in ancient Rome the uncle was the second highest authority after the father. Kids in a brawl, saying "Uncle", would acknowledge the winner as an authority second only to their own father meaning total submission.
And so I do maintain that "sharks and minnows" should also be seen, to some extent, as an expression used among playing children.)

Instead of prose coming first, which then if worthy becomes a poem, which then if worthy becomes a song, we here have an unfinished text sung. And Leonard Cohen kept polishing the text because that's all he could do, and because it was so important that he had to do it.

For me there can be no doubt that this song-poem is a very important message, on which Leonard Cohen spent his last energy, except maybe for "Listen to the Hummingbird".

● The troublesome woman, to me, could be any woman, of course, any relationship. But her incarnation would be his former manager with whom he had an affair and who defrauded him of all his liquid assets, even liquidating his copyrights. And who then inundated him with filth-mail.

● The "rifle" I rather see in "the land of the fathers", where in nineteen-seventy-three-Oh!-three he sang for the Israeli troops.
Leonard Cohen never went against the Palestinians he did disagree with nationalism, including Israeli nationalism. He no more than claimed the right for everybody to live (and not be thrown into the sea).

● The beggar:
Yes, in this stanza surely Kyozan Joshu Sasaki is representing all the begging monks in the first four lines.
In the middle, I suggest to mentally insert, as a kind of hinge, two lines from "Undertow":
And my heart the shape
Of a begging bowl


The second half of the stanza then would refer to the narrator. As a filthy beggar himself now, he has no fable to tell and no lesson to give he can do no more than first guess, later bless "What happens to the heart".
And then: Are we ourselves any more (and subsequently: any less…) than this kind of beggar? Isn't that all we've got?
Leonard Cohen is gone. Who, if not we, whom he tried to teach, is going to be "guessing-blessing / What happens to the heart"?

● The "heart", methinks, can be seen as different from the human heart with its various facets, too namely as in "The Stranger Song":
Please understand, I never had a secret chart
to get me to the heart
of this or any other matter


In this sense, meaning the centre, core, essence, the term is used in the "Heart (of wisdom) Sutra", the most important sutra in Zen Buddhism, chanted after each meditation. Leonard Cohen will have recited this sutra thousands of times.
In the Other Writers and Writing section, I posted a few indications:
https://www.leonardcohenforum.com/viewt ... 86#p373309

● In this context, the line "I was selling holy trinkets" would be quite some demystification of evangelical devotion and elation, and therefore I'd call it "spiritual" in Its4inthemorning's classification.

● Likewise for 7B: "spiritual".
Is he betting that the flood will win and sink the ark, or is he betting that the game of "the-flood-against-the-ark" will be played?
There is a parallel in "Different Sides":
The waters are blessed while a shadowy guest
Kindles a light for the lost

So my take is "spiritual"

● In what concerns the lines
Had a pussy in the kitchen
And a panther in the yard

there is a review posted by Jarkko
https://leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic ... 92#p370087
commenting on the German bilingual edition of "The Flame", quoting (and criticising) the outrageously lousy translation of those lines:
Had a pussy in the kitchen / And a panther in the yard
Hatte ’ne Mieze in der Küche / Einen Mähnenwolf im Revier


Translated back into English that would be:
Had a kitty-cat in the kitchen / A maned wolf in the hunting territory

One should have expected at least something like
Hatt' 'ne Muschi in der Küche / Und 'nen Panther drauß' im Hof
(Or, because of "passiert" in the refrain:
Und 'nen Panther im Geviert)

This prompted me to have a last go at my translation of Rainer Maria Rilke's poem "The Panther In the Jardin des Plantes, Paris": https://leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic ... 16&t=38690
After more than a decade of despairing over translating difficulties, I've come up with something I hope I won't feel too bad about in a few months or years. And at any rate, I have a distinct feeling of having reached my limits. The translation is not very good, but it's the best I can do.



As for the "radio", Its4inthemorning wasn't that in "Treaty"?
You were my ground, my safe and sound
You were my aerial

A decent "ground", and a "safe"-ty razorblade with a "safe"-ty pin pressing a pencil stub onto that razorblade, and earphones for the "sound", and an "aerial":
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_r ... _radios%22
A subversive little thing allowing both soldiers and civilians to secretly listen to Marlene Dietrich or Lale Andersen singing "Lili Marleen" or Jesus allowing our priest to listen to God (way back in time, when he was a boy)...
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)

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