“I wish I could say everything there was to say in one word. I hate all the things that can happen between the beginning of a sentence and the end” – From The Favourite Game by Leonard Cohen

Note: Originally posted Mar 7, 2009 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Going Home By Leonard Cohen: Comparing Poem & Song At New Yorker Site

Two Versions Of “Going Home” At NewYorker.com

Leonard Cohen’s Going Home, from the soon to be released [at time of original posting] Old Ideas album, was first available in a streaming version at the New Yorker site. The poem, “Going Home,” which is the basis of the song’s lyrics, was also available on the Poetry page of the same magazine.

 

Going Home – The Poem and The Song

It is worth noting that the poem “Going Home” and the lyrics of t he song “Going Home” differ somewhat.

To make comparison convenient, I’ve indicated the variations by entering words that are sung that are not in the poem in red. The words from the poem they replace, if any, are printed in blue. I’ve also indented the penultimate and antepenultimate verses to signal those lines sung by the chorus rather than Mr Cohen.

Going Home
By Leonard Cohen

I love to speak with Leonard
He’s a sportsman and a shepherd
He’s a lazy bastard
Living in a suit

But he does say what I tell him
Even though it isn’t welcome
He will never/just doesn’t have the freedom
To refuse

He will speak these words of wisdom
Like a sage, a man of vision
Though he knows he’s really nothing
But the brief elaboration of a tube

Going home
Without my sorrow
Going home
Sometime tomorrow
Going home
To where it’s better

Than before

Going home
Without my burden
Going home
Behind the curtain
Going home
Without the costume
That I wore

He wants to write a love song
An anthem of forgiving
A manual for living with defeat

A cry above the suffering
A sacrifice recovering
But that isn’t what I want/need him to complete

I want to make him/him to be certain
That he doesn’t have a burden
That he doesn’t need a vision

That he only has permission
To do my instant bidding
That/Which is to SAY what I have told him
To repeat

Going home
Without my sorrow
Going home
Sometime tomorrow
Going home
To where it’s better
Than before

Going home
Without my burden
Going home
Behind the curtain
Going home
Without the/this costume
That I wore

[Chorus sings:]
I’m going home
Without my sorrow
Going home
Sometime tomorrow
Going home
To where it’s better
Than before

Going home
Without my burden
Going home
Behind the curtain
Going home
Without this costume
That I wore

I love to speak with Leonard
He’s a sportsman and a shepherd
He’s a lazy bastard
Living in a suit

________________

Note: Originally posted January 16, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Change is the only aphrodisiac” – From Luggage Fire Sale By Leonard Cohen

From “Luggage Fire Sale,” a short story by Leonard Cohen published in Partisan Review, 36, No. 1 (Winter 1969) and Parallel, 1, No. 2, (May-June 1966). Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.