Hear Leonard Cohen Recite “Thousands” & “Mission” From Book Of Longing

booklonginxgThis audio-only video features Leonard Cohen reciting two short, lapidary poems, “Thousands” & “Mission,” from his Book of Longing.

Leonard Cohen Recites “Thousands” & “Mission”
From Book of Longing (2006)
Video by Allan Showalter


Lyrics: Thousands and Mission


Out of the thousands
who are known,
or who want to be known
as poets,
maybe one or two
are genuine
and the rest are fakes,
hanging around the sacred precincts
trying to look like the real thing.
Needless to say
I am one of the fakes,
and this is my story.


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 Hole
Beloved, I’m yours
As I’ve always been
From marrow to pore
From longing to skin
Now that my mission
Has come to its end:
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

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