“Lift this glass of blood / Try to say the grace” Lyrics From Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker Album: Seemed The Better Way

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I better hold my tongue
I better take my place
Lift this glass of blood
Try to say the grace
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From Seemed The Better Way
By Leonard Cohen

DrHGuy Note: The lyrics of the song, “Seemed The Better Way,” are based on the poem, “It Seemed The Better Way,” from Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen (McClelland & Stewart, Nov 19, 2008):

It Seemed The Better Way
Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen

It seemed the better way
When first I heard him speak
But now it’s much too late
To turn the other cheek

It sounded like the truth
It seemed the better way
You’d have to be a fool
To choose the meek today

I wonder what it was
I wonder what it meant
He seemed to touch on love
But then he touched on death

Better hold my tongue
Better learn my place
Lift my glass of blood
Try to say the Grace

DrHGuy Note #2: “Lift this glass of blood / Try to say the grace” calls to mind these lines from the song, The Darkness, on the Old Ideas album:

I caught the darkness
Drinking from your cup
I caught the darkness
Drinking from your cup
I said: Is this contagious?
You said: Just drink it up

Posts featuring selected lyrics from songs on the You Want It Darker album along with notes on the songs’ origins (e.g., published poems), links to other works by Leonard Cohen, and allusions can be found at 

All available information about You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen is collected and updated at Info & Updates: Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker

Ray Charles Singing “You Win Again” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

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“Ray Charles The Singer I Would Never Be” – Leonard Cohen

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Typically, candidates for the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox feature are discovered in his interviews. And, indeed, Cohen has often told interviewers about listening to Ray Charles albums when he and Marianne lived in Hydra:

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New Poem From Leonard Cohen: Happens To The Heart

A gorgeous new poem from Leonard Cohen, dated June 24, 2016, is now online at Happens To The Heart – LeonardCohenFiles

This work was previously mentioned in Leonard Cohen on Longevity, Money, Poetry and Sandwiches By Gavin Edwards (Rolling Stone:September 19, 2014):

How do you know when a song’s working?
You can pretty well tell. We play it for select people, like my daughter – there’s a few people who aren’t afraid to tell you that it isn’t working. We had another song on the album, which was called “Happens to the Heart,” which will be on the next album. It’s a very good lyric, a very good tune, but we didn’t nail it. So we didn’t put each other on about it – not for more than a week or two. “You know, this song really doesn’t make it.” “Thank God you said that, Pat, because I can’t stand it.”

New Leonard Cohen Poem “Steer Your Way” In June 20, 2016 New Yorker

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“Steer Your Way” by Leonard Cohen appears in the latest issue (June 20, 2016) of the New Yorker. The first verse is excerpted below. The entire poem can be found at Steer Your Way – New Yorker

Steer your way through the ruins of the Altar and the Mall
Steer your way through the fables of Creation and the Fall
Steer your way past the Palaces that rise above the rot
Year by year
Month by month
Day by day
Thought by thought

Update: The lyrics of “Steer Your Way” can also be found on page 43 of the 2016 Leonard Cohen Amsterdam Event Booklet.

Leonard Cohen On The Holocaust

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Back Cover: The Spice Box Of Earth by Leonard Cohen (1973)

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It is painful to recall a past intensity, to estimate your distance from the Belsen heap, to make your peace with numbers. Just to get up each morning is to make a kind of peace.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Lines From My Grandfather’s Journal by Leonard Cohen. Published in The Spice Box of Earth (1961)

Note: Originally posted March 20, 2009 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Poem “Moving Into A Period” Quoted In What Happens After Trump?

bklongThe email I revived from Leonard Cohen alerting me to this item contained a technical abnormality so 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.”

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: Unified Heart symbol atop this post found on same page of Book Of Longing as “Moving Into A Period,”