Leonard Cohen, fully Leonard Norman Cohen

Leonard
Cohen, fully Leonard Norman Cohen
1934
2016

Canadian Singer, Songwriter, Poet and Novelist, Ordained as a Buddhist Monk

Author Quotes

You have the lovers, they are nameless, their histories only for each other and you have the room, the bed, and the windows. Pretend it is a ritual. Unfurl the bed, bury the lovers, blacken the windows, let them live in that house for a generation or two. No one dares disturb them. Visitors in the corridor tip-toe past the long closed door, they listen for sounds, for a moan, for a song: nothing is heard, not even breathing. You know they are not dead, you can feel the presence of their intense love. Your children grow up, they leave you, they have become soldiers and riders. Your mate dies after a life of service. Who knows you? Who remembers you? But in your house a ritual is in progress: It is not finished: it needs more people. One day the door is opened to the lover's chamber. The room has become a dense garden, full of colors, smells, sounds you have never known. The bed is smooth as a wafer of sunlight, in the midst of the garden it stands alone. In the bed the lovers, slowly and deliberately and silently, perform the act of love. Their eyes are closed, as tightly as if heavy coins of flesh lay on them. Their lips are bruised with new and old bruises. Her hair and his beard are hopelessly tangled. When he puts his mouth against her shoulder she is uncertain whether her shoulder has given or received the kiss. All her flesh is like a mouth. He carries his fingers along her waist and feels his own waist caressed. She holds him closer and his own arms tighten around her. She kisses the hand besider her mouth. It is his hand or her hand, it hardly matters, there are so many more kisses. You stand beside the bed, weeping with happiness, you carefully peel away the sheets from the slow-moving bodies. Your eyes filled with tears, you barely make out the lovers, As you undress you sing out, and your voice is magnificent because now you believe it is the first human voice heard in that room. The garments you let fall grow into vines. You climb into bed and recover the flesh. You close your eyes and allow them to be sewn shut. You create an embrace and fall into it. There is only one moment of pain or doubt as you wonder how many multitudes are lying beside your body, but a mouth kisses and a hand soothes the moment away.

Your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm

The wars they will be fought again The holy dove be caught again bought and sold and bought again; the dove is never free.

They ended every speech with the word hiro, which means: like I said. Thus each man took responsibility for intruding into the inarticulate murmur of the spheres. To hiro they added the word koue, a cry of joy or distress, according to whether it was sung or howled. Thus they essayed to piece the mysterious curtain which hangs between all talking men: at the end of every utterance a man stepped back, so to speak, and attempted to interpret his words to the listener, attempted to subvert the beguiling intellect with the noise of true emotion.

To have [Adam's Cohen] microscopic attention to my work was really a great privilege.

We met when we were almost young.

What is most original in a man's nature is often that which is most desperate. Thus new systems are forced on the world by men who simply cannot bear the pain of living with what is. Creators care nothing for their systems except that they be unique. If Hitler had been born in Nazi Germany he wouldn't have been content to enjoy the atmosphere.

Why don't you try to do without him, why don't you try to live alone? Do you really need his hands for your passion? Do you really need his heart for your throne? Do you need his labor for your baby? Do you need his beast for the bone? Do you need to hold a leash to be a lady? I know that you can make it, you can make it on your own.

You have to keep cracking yourself open or you become a parody of yourself.

Your servant here, he has been told to say it clear, to say it cold: It's over, it ain't going any further And now the wheels of heaven stop you feel the devil's riding crop Get ready for the future: it is murder

The winter has not killed us again!

They held hands and ran down the hill. Dried leaves splintered under their feet and they tried to step on the piles.

To kiss her there was to intrude into something private and skeletal, like a turtle?s shoulder.

We sold ourselves for love but now we are free. I?m so sorry for that ghost I made you be. Only one of us was real and that was me.

What is the expression which the age demands? The age demands no expression whatever. We have seen photographs of bereaved Asian mothers. We are not interested in the agony of your fumbled organs. There is nothing you can show on your face that can match the horror of this time. Do not even try. You will only hold yourself up to the scorn of those who have felt things deeply. We have seen newsreels of humans in the extremities of pain and dislocation. You are playing to people who have experienced a catastrophe. This should make you very quiet. Speak the words, convey the data, step aside. Everyone knows you are in pain. You cannot tell the audience everything you know about love in every line of love you speak. Step aside and they will know what you know because you know it already. You have nothing to teach them. You are not more beautiful than they are. You are not wiser. Do not shout at them. Do not force a dry entry. That is bad sex. If you show the lines of your genitals, then deliver what you promise. And remember that people do not really want an acrobat in bed. What is our need? To be close to the natural man, to be close to the natural woman. Do not pretend that you are a beloved singer with a vast loyal audience which has followed the ups and downs of your life to this very moment. The bombs, flame-throwers, and all the shit have destroyed more than just the trees and villages. They have also destroyed the stage. Did you think that your profession would escape the general destruction? There is no more stage. There are no more footlights. You are among the people. Then be modest. Speak the words, convey the data, step aside. Be by yourself. Be in your own room. Do not put yourself on.

With great care he arranged a Kleenex platform inside each shoe. The raised heels up almost to the shoe edges. Faith down his pants. A few pirouettes on the floor and became convinced that it could work. The panic subsided. Once again, the triumphant science? Dance well for half an hour and then the feet began to ache. The Kleenex had moved under the arch of the foot. After two more rampant discs could barely walk. He went to the bathroom and tried to straighten Kleenex, but you were all crushed and crumpled in a compact mass. He thought about taking them off completely, but he imagined the surprise and the horrified look of the rest of the company in view shrunken. He put his foot in the shoe only in half, placed the ball between the heel and insole, pressed strong and knotted the laces. The pain hit him up to the ankles. The train put almost out of action. In the middle of the row, squeezed between the girl who held for life and one that clung to him, with loud and repetitive music, all that chanting one-two, one-two-three with his feet beyond his control because of the pain, he thought, is how it should be hell, an eternal train danced with sore feet, from which you cannot get out.

You know how to call me although such a noise now would only confuse the air Neither of us can forget the steps we danced the words you stretched to call me out of dust Yes I long for you not just as a leaf for weather or vase for hands but with a narrow human longing that makes a man refuse any fields but his own I wait for you at an unexpected place in your journey like the rusted key or the feather you do not pick up.--I WILL NEVER FIND THE FACES FOR ALL GOODBYES I'VE MADE.-For Anyone Dressed in Marble The miracle we all are waiting for is waiting till the Parthenon falls down and House of Birthdays is a house no more and fathers are un-poisoned by renown. The medals and the records of abuse can't help us on our pilgrimage to lust, but like whips certain perverts never use, compel our flesh in paralyzing trust. I see an orphan, lawless and serene, standing in a corner of the sky, body something like bodies that have been, but not the scar of naming in his eye. Bred close to the ovens, he's burnt inside. Light, wind, cold, dark -- they use him like a bride. I Had It for a Moment I had it for a moment I knew why I must thank you I saw powerful governing men in black suits I saw them undressed in the arms of young mistresses the men more naked than the naked women the men crying quietly No that is not it I'm losing why I must thank you which means I'm left with pure longing How old are you Do you like your thighs I had it for a moment I had a reason for letting the picture of your mouth destroy my conversation Something on the radio the end of a Mexican song I saw the musicians getting paid they are not even surprised they knew it was only a job Now I've lost it completely A lot of people think you are beautiful How do I feel about that I have no feeling about that I had a wonderful reason for not merely courting you It was tied up with the newspapers I saw secret arrangements in high offices I saw men who loved their worldliness even though they had looked through big electric telescopes they still thought their worldliness was serious not just a hobby a taste a harmless affectation they thought the cosmos listened I was suddenly fearful one of their obscure regulations could separate us I was ready to beg for mercy Now I'm getting into humiliation I've lost why I began this I wanted to talk about your yes I know nothing about your eyes and you've noticed how little I know I want you somewhere safe far from high offices I'll study you later So many people want to cry quietly beside you.

You've got a deadline. Well, I do, too: death.

A kite is a victim you are sure of. You love it because it pulls gentle enough to call you master, strong enough to call you fool; because it lives like a desperate trained falcon in the high sweet air, and you can always haul it down to tame it in your drawer. A kite is a fish you have already caught in a pool where no fish come, so you play him carefully and long, and hope he won't give up, or the wind die down. A kite is the last poem you've written so you give it to the wind, but you don't let it go until someone finds you something else to do. A kite is a contract of glory that must be made with the sun, so you make friends with the field the river and the wind, then you pray the whole cold night before, under the travelling cordless moon, to make you worthy and lyric and pure.

All busy in the sunlight the flecks did float and dance, and I was tumbled up with them in formless circumstance.

And this is our time-keeper, with a passion for percussion.

Blessed are you who circled desire with a blade, and the garden with fiery swords, and heaven and earth with a word.

Do not believe the truth. The truth is tiny compared to what you have to do.

Everybody knows that you love me baby, everybody knows that you really do. Everybody knows that you've been faithful, ah give or take a night or two. Everybody knows you've been discreet but there were so many people you just had to meet without your clothes and everybody knows.

Garages, barns and attics are always older than the buildings to which they are attached.

First Name
Leonard
Last Name
Cohen, fully Leonard Norman Cohen
Birth Date
1934
Death Date
2016
Bio

Canadian Singer, Songwriter, Poet and Novelist, Ordained as a Buddhist Monk