The Articulate Silence Of Leonard Cohen: Gift

spicebox-bkGift
By Leonard Cohen
From The Spice-Box of Earth

You tell me that silence
is nearer to peace than poems
but if for my gift
I brought you silence
(for I know silence)
you would say
This is not silence
this is another poem
and you would hand it back to me.

Silence is a concept Leonard Cohen often addressed. The Articulate Silence Of Leonard Cohen is a collection of posts comprising the poems, songs, quotations, and other works by Cohen focusing on the absence of sound.

“The sadness of the zoo will fall upon society” Leonard Cohen Poem Quoted In March 15, 2016 Article “What Happens After Trump?”

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Note: The following post was published here Mar 17, 2016, following an email I revived from Leonard Cohen alerting me to this item. Because the email contained a technical abnormality, I wrote back to assure it was actually from him. He confirmed he had sent it and added, “I thought it was an interesting item. Nobody ever quoted from that poem before.” Given the current situation in America. reposting this entry seems appropriate.

The pertinent excerpt is from What happens after Trump? by Bernie Quigley (The Hill: March 15, 2016):

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What Trump portends is yet beyond our seeing. Maybe it is harbinger to that time poet Leonard Cohen prophesied in ‘Book of Longing’: ‘The public yearning for Order will invite many stubborn uncompromising persons to impose it. The sadness of the zoo will fall upon society.’quotedown2

 

 

The poem referenced is “Moving Into A Period” from Book of Longing (2006) by Leonard Cohen:

We are moving into a period of bewilderment, a curious moment in which people find light in the midst of despair, and vertigo at the summit of their hopes. It is a religious moment also, and here is the danger. People will want to obey the voice of Authority, and many strange constructs of just what Authority is will arise in every mind. The family will appear again as the Foundation, much honoured, much praised, but those of us who have been pierced by other possibilities, we will merely go through the motions, albeit the motions of love. The public yearning for Order will invite many stubborn uncompromising persons to impose it. The sadness of the zoo will fall upon society.

You and I, who yearn for blameless intimacy, we will be unwilling to speak even the first words of inquisitive delight, for fear of reprisals. Everything desperate will live behind a joke. But I swear that I will stand within the range of your perfume.

How severe seems the moon tonight, like the face of an Iron Maiden, instead of the usual indistinct idiot.

If you think Freud is dishonoured now, and Einstein, and Hemingway, just wait and see what is to be done with all that white hair, by those who come after me.

But there will be a Cross, a sign, that some will understand; a secret meeting, a warning, a Jerusalem hidden in Jerusalem. I will be wearing white clothes, as usual, and I will enter The Innermost Place as I have done generation upon generation, to entreat, to plead, to justify. I will enter the chamber of the Bride and Bridegroom, and no one will follow me.

Have no doubt, in the near future we will be seeing and hearing much more of this sort of thing from people like myself.

DrHGuy Note: The poem is indeed rarely quoted. A search this morning turned up only one other quotation from “Moving Into A Period” (other than in articles about Leonard Cohen such as reviews of Book Of Longing and a 2014 Words By Leonard Cohen DrHGuy.com post): editorial – rt82 (RealTime Arts Magazine #82: Dec-Jan 2007)

Credit Due Department: The Unified Heart symbol was found on same page of Book Of Longing as “Moving Into A Period.” The photo of Donald Trump is by Michael Vadon. CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikipedia Commons

Mission – A Poem By Leonard Cohen: “I’ve died at my death / and now I can leave”

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Mission
by Leonard Cohen
from Book Of Longing

I’ve worked at my work
I’ve slept at my sleep
I’ve died at my death
and now I can leave.

Leave what is needed
and leave what is full
need in the spirit
and need in the whole.

Beloved, I’m yours
as I have always been,
from marrow to pore
from longing to skin.

Now that my mission
has come to its end
I pray I’m forgiven
the life that I’ve led

the body I chased
it chased me as well.
My longing’s a place
my dying a sail.

“I will not be held like a drunkard / under the cold tap of facts / I refuse the universal alibi” Leonard Cohen

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Flowers For Hitler – Back Cover

What I’m Doing Here by Leonard Cohen
Flowers for Hitler: 1964

I do not know if the world has lied
I have lied
I do not know if the world has conspired against love
I have conspired against love
The atmosphere of torture is no comfort
I have tortured
Even without the mushroom cloud
still I would have hated
Listen
I would have done the same things
even if there were no death
I will not be held like a drunkard
under the cold tap of facts
I refuse the universal alibi

Like an empty telephone booth passed at night
and remembered
like mirrors in a movie palace lobby consulted only on the way out
like a nymphomaniac who binds a thousand
into strange brotherhood
I wait
for each of you to confess

Note: Originally posted Apr 11, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Best Halloween Pick Up Line From A Leonard Cohen Poem: “I perceived the outline of your breasts through your Hallowe’en costume”

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The Energy Of Slaves (back cover) by Leonard Cohen – Canada: 1974

I perceived the outline of your breasts
through your Hallowe’en costume
I knew you were falling in love with me
because no other man could perceive
the advance of your bosom into his imagination
It was a rupture of your unusual modesty
for me and me alone
through which you impressed upon my shapeless hunger
the incomparable and final outline of your breasts
like two deep fossil shells
which remained all night long and probably forever

Poem 17 from “The Energy of Slaves” by Leonard Cohen

Credit Due Department: Scan atop this post contributed by Dominique BOILE. View other Leonard Cohen photos used as back cover art at Leonard Cohen On The Back Cover

Note: Originally Oct 17, 2013 posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Leonard Cohen Recites “Listen To The Hummingbird”

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Listen to the hummingbird
Whose wings you cannot see
Listen to the hummingbird
Don’t listen to me.

Listen to the butterfly
Whose days but number three
Listen to the butterfly
Don’t listen to me.

Listen to the mind of God
Which doesn’t need to be
Listen to the mind of God
Don’t listen to me.
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Leonard Cohen

A “sweet little song … that [Leonard Cohen had] been working through,” quoted in Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker by David Remnick (New Yorker: October 17, 2016)

Leonard recited these lines at the Oct 13, 2016 You Want It Darker Event in Los Angeles.

Leonard Cohen Recites “Listen To The Hummingbird”
Video by Allan Showalter