More Leonard Cohen

[RETURN TO POP & ROCK MUSICIANS-1

WHO BY FIRE?

And who by fire?
Who by water?
Who in the sunshine?
Who in the night time?
Who by high ordeal?
Who by common trial?
Who in your merry merry month of May?
Who by very slow decay?
And who shall I say is calling?

And who in her lonely slip?
Who by barbiturate?
Who in these realms of love?
Who by something blunt?
Who by avalanche?
Who by powder?
Who for his greed?
Who for his hunger?
And who shall I say is calling?

And who by brave assent?
Who by accident?
Who in solitude?
Who in this mirror?
Who by his lady's command?
Who by his own hand?
Who in mortal chains?
Who in power?
And who shall I say is calling?

And who by fire?
Who by water?
Who in the sunshine?
Who in the night time?
Who by high ordeal?
Who by common trial?
Who in your merry merry month of May?
Who by very slow decay?
And who shall I say is calling?

by Leonard Cohen

Cohen performs his song “The Future”:

A full-length concert recorded at Velodromo De Anoeta, Spain, 20th May 1988 in HD HQ:

One of the few songs performed by Cohen which he did not write (Hy Zaret did, adapting it from a member of the French resistance Emmanuel d’Astier de la Vigérie’s “Bernard”):

The song below is based on Federico Garcia Lorca’s poem “The Unfaithful Married Woman”:

The Unfaithful Married Woman

I took her to the river,
believing her unwed;
the fact she had a husband
was something left unsaid.
St. Jame's night is timely--
She would not let me wait--
The lights are put out early,
the fireflies light up late.

I roused her sleeping bosom
right early in our walk;
her heart unfolded for me
like hyacinths on the stalk.
Her starchy skirts kept rustling
and crackled in my ears
like sheets of silk cut crosswise
at once by twenty shears.

The dark unsilvered treetops
grew tall, as on we strode;
dogs barked, a whole horizon,
far from the river road.

When we had passed the brambles
and the thickets on our round,
her coiled hair made a pillow
in a hollow on the ground:
As I undid my necktie,
her petticoats left their place;
I shed my leather holster,
and she, four layers of lace.

Not nard nor snail had ever
texture of skin so fine,
nor crystal in the moonlight
glimmered with purer shine:
Her thighs slipped from beneath me
like little trout in fright,
half chilly (but not frigid),
half full of shining light.

The whole night saw me posting
Upon my lovely mare;
mother-of-pearl the saddle,
no need for bridle and spur;
and what her whispers told me
a man should not repeat
when perfect understanding
has made the mind discreet.

Dirty with sand and kisses
I brought her from the shore
as the iris poised green sabres
at the night wind once more.

To act in decent fashion
as loyal gypsy should,
I gave her a sewing-basket,
satin and straw, and good;
and yet I would not love her
in spite of what she said
when I took her to the river,
for she was not unwed.

by Federico Garcia Lorca; translated by Rolfe Humphries