Leonard Cohen on By The Rivers Dark Being About “Reconciliation Between The Profane And The Sacred.”

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This is a reference to the Book of Psalms (Psalm 137): the children of Israel are in exile, their captors asked them to sing, but they refuse because they can not celebrate sacred songs in a foreign land. In the Psalm it is said: ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my arm fall, my tongue cleave to my palate.’ I got this idea of applying Jerusalem to Babylon. This song is about reconciliation between the profane and the sacred.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Je Ne Suis Qu’un Poete Mineur [I’m Just A Minor Poet] by Gilles Medioni, L’Express (France): October 4, 2001 [translated from French]

Leonard Cohen Talks About Barbara And Lorraine, The Original Sisters Of Mercy

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I always remember to dedicate this song to the girls for whom I wrote it. And like a lot of my material it’s just completely documentary. It doesn’t concern high metaphysical questions but an accurate reportage as authentic and precise as I can make it, a description of exactly what happened on the interior landscape. And I was in Edmonton during a tour by myself of Canada, I guess this was around 67. I was walking along one of the main streets of Edmonton, it was bitter cold ; and I knew no-one and I passed these two girls [Barbara and Lorraine] on a doorway. They invited me to stand in the doorway with them. Of course I did. And some time later, we found ourselves in my little Hotel room in Edmonton and the three of us were gonna go to sleep together. Of course I had all kinds of erotic fantasies of what the evening might bring. Interviewer: How old were you ? Oh I was an adult. I guess I was around my early 30’s. And we went to bed together and I think we all jammed into this one small couch in this little Hotel and it became clear that it wasn’t the purpose of the evening at all. And at one point, in the night, I found myself unable to sleep, I got up, and by the moonlight – It was very very bright, the moon was being reflected off the snow, and my windows were very bright – I wrote that poem by the ice-reflected moonlight while these women were sleeping and it was one of the few songs that I ever wrote from top to bottom without a line of revision . The words flowed and the melody flowed and by the time they woke up the next morning, it was dawn. I had this completed song to sing to them.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Transcript of Pacifica Interview with Kathleen Kendall. WBAI Radio, New York City: December 4, 1974.

 

Leonard Cohen on the Importance of One’s Work: “Everything else is kind of shipwrecked, bankrupt”

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This is one’s work. Everything else is kind of shipwrecked, bankrupt. So all you have left is your work – and that’s what you’re doing most of the time. That’s the only area which you can somehow govern or clarify. All other things remain somewhat mysterious and messy.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From marketing material for Tower Of Song tribute album (1995). Originally posted October 30, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I’ve always felt very different from other poets I’ve met” Leonard Cohen on feeling “more at home with musicians”

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I’ve always felt very different from other poets I’ve met. I’ve always felt that somehow they’ve made a decision against life. I don’t want to put any poets down, but most of them have closed a lot of doors. I never felt too much at home with those kind of people. I always felt more at home with musicians. I like to write songs and sing and that kind of stuff. I don’t know, I seem to be a happy man. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen, 1966

 

From Is the World (or Anybody) Ready for Leonard Cohen? by Jon Ruddy. Maclean’s: October 1, 1966. Note: Originally posted Nov 12, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I’m not impressed by my opinions at all. It is the kind of information that arises from the work of making the songs that interests me” Leonard Cohen

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I’m not impressed by my opinions at all. It is the kind of information that arises from the work of making the songs that interests me, and those are positions. I call them positions rather than opinions. Those are positions that I don’t command and I don’t use in arguments. They just are positions, they just are constellations of feelings and thoughts that as I say are often empty and just act as refreshment or oxygen, rather than slogans or manifestos.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen: Pondering His Past and ‘The Future’ by Scott Crawford (Intermission, Stanford Daily: April 8, 1993) Originally posted Oct 15, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Whatever the relationships between men & women are, the fact is we are each other’s content” Leonard Cohen on I’m Your Man

1988

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I said to myself, ‘What would I do to be accepted by the woman and what does the woman want? What does a woman want from a man?’ Many men have addressed this problem: what kind of a man does she want me to be? And it’s only the hunger for the woman, the necessity to live in her presence, whether this is love or not. Whatever the relationships between men and women are, the fact is we are each other’s content. We cannot live without each other. So accepting that as one of the aspects of being in love, or dying of love, a man dying of love writes this song. Whatever you want me to be I’ll bequotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

I’m Your Man, by Alberto Manzano, originally published in Rockdelux (Spain), May 1988.