Leonard Cohen – A Thousand Kisses Deep
Wellington: Dec 17, 2013
Video by Henry Tengelsen (aka Wirebirds)
Leonard Cohen – A Thousand Kisses Deep
Scene from the French documentary “Leonard Cohen Spring 96”, shot in Leonard Cohen’s cabin at Mt. Baldy Zen monastery by Armelle Brusq. Leonard Cohen is recording song A Thousand Kisses Deep, using Technics KN 3000 synthesizer. The track is apparently an early, demo version to different lyrics and complete different melody than one composed in collaboration with Sharon Robinson, for 2001 album Ten New Songs. Also, the poem included in the 2006 Book of Longing, recited during 2008 Tour, doesn’t have some of lyrics from this demo.
Video and text posted by Tom Sakic aka a1000kissesdeep
[My] other favorite line is: ‘And summoned now to deal / With your invincible defeat, / You live your life as if it’s real, / A Thousand Kisses Deep.’ Everybody realizes at a certain time that they aren’t leading the life they want to. Life feels like a defeat. If you are lucky, you will realize later on that no one leads the life they want to. You realize that you cannot control your life, because if you could, you would have lead a different life. The awareness that you don’t control anything is the first reminder of the defeat. After that, you have to understand that you have to live on as if your life is real, as if you are the director and as if your choices have got consequences that are predictable. Life is to choose and therefore we have to carry on making these choices as if they are real choices that we can control. But the deeper understanding is that you don’t run the show, but live your life ‘a thousand kisses deep,’ and by that phrase I mean, that you have to accept the mystery and surrender to the mystery. Not even that is under your control. You can pray that it happens and try to arrange it, as if it was something that could be achieved through that path. You can also imagine that you are aware of what it’s all about. But before you actually experience the surrender, you don’t even know the shape of it. Something relaxes inside you. Everybody wants to be relaxed, but relaxing is another activity that you cannot control. For me it was very much about getting older. I read somewhere that when you get older the brain cells that are connected with fear start to die. I know a lot of older people who are very worried and bitter, but luckily it hasn’t happened in my case. At some point my angst started to ease. I think it was the understanding of not mastering an understanding of what the old master was trying to tell me. I couldn’t break through. I didn’t really understand it. And maybe I wasn’t meant to understand. Maybe it just had to sink into my heart and make it more relaxing to be alive. But I am both uncertain and unconscious of the process, and therefore I cannot give you a good description of it. But something eased inside me
Note: Originally posted Mar 14, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
I’m turning tricks, I’m getting fixed
I’m back on Boogie Street
I’d like to quit the business
But I’m lazy and I’m weak
The thought of you is fragrant and the loss of you complete
There’s nothing but a scratch or two
A thousand kisses deep.
From an early draft of A Thousand Kisses Deep. Leonard Cohen by Neva Chonin (Rolling Stone: December 11, 1997).
We don’t write the play, we don’t produce it, we don’t direct it, and we’re not even actors in it. Everybody eventually comes to the conclusion that things are not unfolding exactly the way they wanted, and that the whole enterprise has a basis that you can’t penetrate. Nevertheless, you live your life as if it’s real. But with the understanding: it’s only a thousand kisses deep, that is, with that deep intuitive understanding that this is unfolding according to a pattern that you simply cannot discern.
From The Loneliness of the Long-Suffering Folkie by Wayne Robins. Newsday: November 22, 1992.
I’ll find you though you climb
The very heights of failure peak,
I’ll lift you from the midst
Of your invincible defeat,
But hold me when the darkness sings
And when our faith is weak
We’ll bathe together in those springs
A thousand kisses deep
From At Lunch With Leonard Cohen; Philosophical Songwriter On A Wire by Jon Pareles. New York Times: October 11, 1995, Photo of Leonard Cohen by Roland Godefroy (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Originally posted Oct 18, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
You may believe you have some control over [your] decisions, but certainly not the consequences. But you live your life as if it’s real … as if you’re directing it, but with the intuitive understanding that it’s unfolding as it should and you are not running the show.
From Look Who’s Back at 67: Gentle Leonard Cohen by Frank DiGiacomo. New York Observer: Oct 15, 2001. Credit Due Department: The photo atop this post is a Sony publicity photo for Ten New Songs taken by Laszlo.Originally posted May 7, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Laurence of Paris alerts us to this video, designed to explain the utility of billboards, featuring Leonard Cohen’s A Thousand Kisses Deep (from Ten New Songs) as its soundtrack. And there’s a bonus – the video (in Romanian) was filmed in Chisinau Moldova, the hometown of Alex Bublitchi, violinist for the recent Leonard Cohen tours.
Note: A Thousand Kisses Deep begins at about 1:00