lyrics to Joan of Arc

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
reatastar
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lyrics to Joan of Arc

Postby reatastar » Sun May 27, 2007 4:54 pm

I would like a little help with what this song is really about.
Any input would be most appreciated!
John Etherington
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Postby John Etherington » Sun May 27, 2007 11:39 pm

Off the top of my head, I think this song is a pretty accurate description of Joan of Arc being burned at the stake. The wedding presumably refers to her "marriage" with Christ as she dies a martyr. At the end of the song, Leonard associates the method by which St. Joan dies with the all consuming flames of passion and the suffering that seem to constitute his own longing for romantic and spiritual fulfillment. All the best, John E
reatastar
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thank you

Postby reatastar » Tue May 29, 2007 5:14 pm

Thanks so much for your input John!
John Etherington
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Postby John Etherington » Wed May 30, 2007 1:31 pm

Thanks reatastar,

If one takes a more existentialist view, I supposed that Joan of Arc's marriage could be considered as being to the fire itself. However, fire is also one of the forms that symbolise the "Holy Spirit" .

All the best, John E
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Manna
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Postby Manna » Wed May 30, 2007 5:15 pm

That's how I had taken it - that the marriage was to the fire itself. This is what so totally makes this poem, to me. Part of (at least one of) St. Joan's legend(s) is that she wasn't pained by the fire.

Fire, make your body cold
I'm going to give you mine to hold
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Davido
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Postby Davido » Wed May 30, 2007 6:23 pm

'Joan of Arc' (along with 'Take this Longing' & possibly 'One of us Cannot be Wrong') is also about Nico. Leonard was apparently infatuated with her but failed to win her over.
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Postby John Etherington » Wed May 30, 2007 11:47 pm

Thanks for reminding us of that, Davido. I knew that the other two songs were specifically about Nico, but I'd forgotten that a Joan of Arc/Nico link has previously been made. That would explain the possible double meaning of the line "Such a cold and lonesome heroin(e)".
beatingthelilies
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Re: lyrics to Joan of Arc

Postby beatingthelilies » Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:35 am

This has got to be one of Mr. Cohen's best songs. I am currently reading a biography on Joan of Arc and find this song to be quite historically accurate. During her trial, Joan made the comment that she longed for her peasant life once more. With that being said, I don't think she ever regretted her decisions in life. As a young woman aged 19, it is more than understandable that she would long for marriage and a simple life. The beauty of this song is that it directs her longing toward fire which is the element that brought about her physical demise. Like fire, Joan was steadfast and unmovable. She held fast to her beliefs. In a metaphorical sense, fire was the only physical thing on earth that could reciprocate her love. The ultimate union between the 2 came during Joan's execution.
holydove
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Re: lyrics to Joan of Arc

Postby holydove » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:20 pm

I also interpreted the marriage to be between Joan & the fire; & if we take fire to represent passion, the lyrics could also imply that St. Joan was married to, & consumed by, her own passion.
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Re: lyrics to Joan of Arc

Postby MaryB » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:51 pm

My own personal interpretation of the song also equates fire with passion, but passion to the most extreme degree.
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holydove
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Re: lyrics to Joan of Arc

Postby holydove » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:18 am

MaryB wrote: but passion to the most extreme degree.
Precisely, Mary - in fact, one might say, All-Consuming Passion. . .which would explain why she was consumed by it.
sebmelmoth2003
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Re: lyrics to Joan of Arc

Postby sebmelmoth2003 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:37 pm

leonard song briefly extracted - about 3 minutes into the programme.

joan of arc - `things we forgot to remember` - bbc radio 4 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00p604w
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Re: lyrics to Joan of Arc

Postby bridger15 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:46 pm

sebmelmoth2003 wrote:leonard song briefly extracted - about 3 minutes into the programme.

joan of arc - `things we forgot to remember` - bbc radio 4 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00p604w
Thanks, Sebmelmoth2003... Your BBC radio4 link worked in the US. It is an excellent backgrounder. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it.
And a bonus when Leonard Cohen's song was mentioned along with the Rossini and Tchaikovski operas.

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