Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Leonard Cohen’

Fascinating look at the wonderful Leonard Cohen as seen from the perspective of, among others, John Cage. Definitely worth a read, although it is on the long side.

 

http://www.lionsroar.com/leonard-cohen-burns-and-we-burn-with-him-may-2013/

Read Full Post »

cohen

 

 

 

Leonard Cohen, who in my humble opinion is one of the coolest and kindest people on the  planet, is also a gifted poet, as most people who have heard his music know from his wonderful lyrics and if you’ve read his poetry even more so.  I admire him greatly for his gifts his class, his style his poetry and his music,  but also for the sense that if we had somehow been alive together in the earlier part of the 20th century, we might have been freedom fighters, partisans, fighting with words perhaps, side by side. A nice fantasy perhaps.

Today  he celebrates his 80th birthday. In honor of his birthday, I’m posting both a poem he wrote called “Questions for Shomrim” about Gaza, and the lyrics to one of my absolute favorite songs ever. They both speak to me in many ways. The poem, because of it’s beauty, but also the fact that it was written by a Jew and is a strong condemnation of Israels policy of apartheid with regards to Gaza. The poem because of what I mentioned above. The song is called “The Partisan”.  Enjoy this wonderful genius!

“Questions for Shomrim”

And will my people build a new Dachau
And call it love,
Security,
Jewish culture
For dark-eyed children
Burning in the stars
Will all our songs screech
Like the maddened eagles of the night
Until Yiddish, Arabic, Hebrew, and Vietnamese
Are a thin thread of blood clawing up the side of
Unspeaking steel chambers
I know you, Chaverim
The lost young summer nights of our childhood
We spent on street corners looking for life
In our scanty drops of Marx and Borochov.
You taught me the Italian Symphony

And the New World
And gave a skit about blowing up Arab children.
You taught me many songs
But none so sad
As napalm falling slowly in the dark
You were our singing heroes in ’48
Do you dare ask yourselves what you are now
We, you and I, were lovers once
As only wild nights of wrestling in golden snow
Can make one love
We hiked by moonlight
And you asked me to lead the Internationale
And now my son must die
For he’s an Arab
And my mother, too, for she’s a Jew
And you and I
Can only cry and wonder
Must Jewish people
Build our Dachaus, too?

— Leonard Cohen, poem from 1970’s

 

“The Partisan”

When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
this I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.
I have changed my name so often,
I’ve lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me.

An old woman gave us shelter,
kept us hidden in the garret,
then the soldiers came;
she died without a whisper.

There were three of us this morning
I’m the only one this evening
but I must go on;
the frontiers are my prison.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.

Les Allemands e’taient chez moi, (The Germans were at my home)
ils me dirent, “Signe toi,” (They said, “Sign yourself,”)
mais je n’ai pas peur; (But I am not afraid)
j’ai repris mon arme. (I have retaken my weapon.)

J’ai change’ cent fois de nom, (I have changed names a hundred times)
j’ai perdu femme et enfants (I have lost wife and children)
mais j’ai tant d’amis; (But I have so many friends)
j’ai la France entie`re. (I have all of France)

Un vieil homme dans un grenier (An old man, in an attic)
pour la nuit nous a cache’, (Hid us for the night)
les Allemands l’ont pris; (The Germans captured him)
il est mort sans surprise. (He died without surprise.)

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: