Rest in Peace: Leonard Cohen

Sad news today that the great folk-rock singer Leonard Cohen has passed away.  He was 82 years young and left quite a mark on music as a profound poet.

The first time I ever heard of Cohen was way back in the 1990s when I heard his song, ‘Waiting for the Miracle to Come’ that opens and sets the mood for Oliver Stone’s hyberbolic, over-the-top and satirical media critique ‘Natural Born Killers.’

Strangely, this morning around 7am, I was walking to work from the King Street Station in downtown Seattle.  I had an inkling to listen to Cohen’s ‘The Future’.  I ended up listening to the song twice.  Recorded in 1992, there is an eerie relevance today.  This is a song about the apocalypse.

Here are the lyrics:

Give me back my broken night/ my mirrored room, my secret life/ it’s lonely here/ there’s no one left to torture/ Give me absolute control/ over every living soul/ And lie beside me, baby, that’s an order! / Give me crack and anal sex/ Take the only tree that’s left and stuff it up the hole in your culture/ Give me back the Berlin Wall/ Give Stalin and St.Paul/ I’ve seen the future, brother:  it is murder!

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions/ Won’t be nothing/ Nothing you can measure anymore/ The blizzard, the blizzard of the world/ has crossed the threshold and it has overturned the order of the soul/ When they said REPENT, REPENT/ I wonder what they meant

You don’t know me from the wind/ you never will, you never did/ I’m the little Jew who wrote the Bible/ I’ve seen nations rise and fall/ I’ve heard their stories, heard them all

but love’s the only engine of survival

Your servant here, he has been told/ to say it clear, to say it cold/ It’s over, it ain’t going any further/ And now the wheels of heaven stop/ you feel the devil’s riding crop/ Get ready for the future/ it is murder

There’ll be the breaking of the ancient western code/ Your private life will suddenly explode/ There’ll be phantoms/ There’ll be fires on the road/ and the white man dancing/ You’ll see a woman hanging upside down/ her features covered by her fallen gown/ and all the lousy little poets coming around/ tryin to sound like Charlie Manson/ and the white man dancing

Give me back the Berlin Wall / Give me Stalin and St. Paul/ Give me Christ or give me Hiroshima/ Destroy the fetus now/ We don’t like children anyhow/ I’ve seen the future, baby/ It is murder!   END

Probably fitting to close with a lyric from his most famous song, ‘Hallelujah’:

‘I did my best, it wasn’t much.  I couldn’t tell so I learned to touch.  I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you. And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but hallelujah.’



About dangeroushope

Striving to follow Christ, love people and learn more about the world.
This entry was posted in Personal Journal, Political/Social Banter. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Rest in Peace: Leonard Cohen

  1. Pingback: Jesus and Secular Humanism: A Discourse | Dangerous Hope

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