Leonard Cohen, fully Leonard Norman Cohen

Cohen, fully Leonard Norman Cohen

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

Author Quotes

he talks like this you don't know what he's after.

I always felt I was scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to get a song together.

I couldn't feel so I learned to touch.

I feel that this is a vocabulary that I grew up with. This biblical landscape is very familiar to me, and it's natural that I use those landmarks as references. Once they were universal references and everybody understood and knew them and located them. That's no longer the case today, but it is still my landscape.

I have tried in my way to be free.

I said I was ready to die recently, and I think I was exaggerating. That declaration of readiness, no matter what the outcome, that's a part of everyone's soul.

I turned my back on the devil, turned my back on the angel too.

I'd written a lot of songs with hummingbirds in them. None of them ever came to anything, but I did write a few lines last month. It went like this: 'Listen to the hummingbird whose wings you cannot see. Listen to the hummingbird, don't listen to me'.

I'm neither left or right. I'm just staying home tonight, getting lost in that hopeless little screen.

It is a miracle. I don?t know where the good songs come from or else I?d go there more often.

It's four in the morning, the end of December I'm writing you now just to see if you're better.

Let judges secretly despair of justice: their verdicts will be more acute. Let generals secretly despair of triumph; killing will be defamed. Let priests secretly despair of faith: their compassion will be true.

Maybe there?s a God above but all I?ve ever learned from love was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you. It?s not a cry you can hear at night, it?s not somebody who has seen the light. It?s a cold and it?s a broken Hallelujah

My son and my daughter have both been an incredibly sustaining force, especially through this recent bad patch [of health]. So, I've been blessed and grateful for their company and for their assistance.

Out of the thousands who are known or who want to be known as poets, maybe one or two are genuine and the rest are fakes, hanging around the sacred precincts, trying to look like the real thing.

Secret kabals of vegetarians habitually gather under the sign to exchange contraband from beyond the Vegetable Barrier. In their pinpoint eyes dances their old dream: the Total Fast. One of them reports a new atrocity published without compassionate comment by the editors of Scientific American: It has been established that, when pulled from the ground, a radish produces an electronic scream. Not even the triple bill for 65? will comfort them tonight. With a mad laugh born of despair, one of them throws himself on a hot-dog stand, disintegrating on the first chew into pathetic withdrawal symptoms. The rest watch him mournfully and then separate into the Montreal entertainment section. The news is more serious than any of them thought. One is ravished by a steak house with sidewalk ventilation. In a restaurant, one argues with the waiter that he ordered tomato but then in a suicide of gallantry he agrees to accept the spaghetti, meat sauce mistake.

Steam coming off the planet, clouds of fleecy steam as boy and girl populations clash in religious riots, hot and whistling like a graveyard sodomist our little planet embraces its fragile yo-yo destiny, tuned in the secular mind like a dying engine. But some do not hear it this way, some flying successful moon-shot eyes do not see it this way. They do not hear the individual noises shhh, hiss, they hear the sound of the sounds together, they behold the interstices flashing up and down the cone of the flowering whirlwind.

The dreamers ride against the men of action. Oh see the men of action falling back.

A fresh spider-web billowing like a spinnaker across the open window and here he is the little master sailing by on a thread of milk wish me luck admiral I haven't finished anything in a long time.

Ah, grief makes us precise!

And sometimes when the night is slow the wretched and the meek we gather up our hearts and go a Thousand Kisses Deep.

Before us stretched a corridor of meat, great torsos of meadow animals strung in glistening flayed exhibitions, heads with limp exhausted comic-book tongues dangling at too sharp an angle, heads with dull-eyed slaughter-greeting looks, heads smiling and winking, perhaps the subtlest camouflage this severed coyness, heads piled in pyramids like park cannonballs, some of them cruelly facing a sausage display of their missing extremities, a thick and thin suspended rain of sausages, a storm of jellied blood, and further down the corridor no recognizable animal shapes but chunks of their bodies, shaped not by hide or muscle but by cleaver, knife and appetite.

Do not act out words. Never act out words. Never try to leave the floor when you talk about flying. Never close your eyes and jerk your head to one side when you talk about death. Do not fix your burning eyes on me when you speak about love. If you want to impress me when you speak about love put your hand in your pocket or under your dress and play with yourself. If ambition and the hunger for applause have driven you to speak about love you should learn how to do it without disgracing yourself or the material. This is an interior landscape. It is inside. It is private. Respect the privacy of the material. These pieces were written in silence. The courage of the play is to speak them. The discipline of the play is not to violate them. Let the audience feel your love of privacy even though there is no privacy. Be good whores. The poem is not a slogan. It cannot advertise you. It cannot promote your reputation for sensitivity. You are students of discipline. Do not act out the words. The words die when you act them out, they wither, and we are left with nothing but your ambition. The poem is nothing but information. It is the constitution of the inner country. If you declaim it and blow it up with noble intentions then you are no better than the politicians whom you despise. You are just someone waving a flag and making the cheapest kind of appeal to a kind of emotional patriotism. Think of the words as science, not as art. They are a report. You are speaking before a meeting of the explorers' club of the national geographic society. These people know all the risks of mountain climbing. They honor you by taking this for granted. If you rub their faces in it that is an insult to their hospitality. Do not work the audience for gasps and sighs. If you are worthy of gasps and sighs it will not be from your appreciation of the event but from theirs. It will be in the statistics and not the trembling of the voice or the cutting of the air with your hands. It will be in the data and the quiet organization of your presence. Avoid the flourish. Do not be afraid to be weak. Do not be ashamed to be tired. You look good when you're tired. You look like you could go on forever. Now come into my arms. You are the image of my beauty.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded, everybody rolls with their fingers crossed, everybody knows that the war is over, everybody knows the good guys lost.

From the church where the outcasts can hide or the mosque where the blood is dignified. Like the fingers on your hand, like the hourglass of sand, we can separate but not divide. From the eye above the pyramid. And the dollar?s cruel display from the law behind the law, behind the law we still obey. Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

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Cohen, fully Leonard Norman Cohen
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Canadian Singer, Songwriter, Poet and Novelist, Ordained as a Buddhist Monk