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leonard cohen Quotes

Leonard Cohen Quotes

Birth Date: 1934-09-21 (Friday, September 21st, 1934)



    • and you kissed me shy as though I'd never been your lover
    • Rust rust rust in the engines of love and time
    • What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order. It is a kind of balance that is his glory. He rides the drifts like an escaped ski. His course is the caress of the hill. His track is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular arrangement with wind and rock. Something in him so loves the world that he gives himself to the laws of gravity and chance. Far from flying with the angels, he traces with the fidelity of a seismograph needle the state of the solid bloody landscape. His house is dangerous and finite, but he is at home in the world. He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love.
    • God is alive. Magic is afoot. God is alive. Magic is afoot. God is afoot. Magic is alive. Alive is afoot. Magic never died. God never sickened. Many poor men lied. Many sick men lied. Magic never weakened. Magic never hid. Magic always ruled. God is afoot. God was ruler though his funeral lengthened. Though his mourners thickened Magic never fled...
    • It was only when you walked away I saw you had the perfect ass. Forgive me for not falling in love with your face or your conversation.
    • Only in Canada could somebody with a voice like mine win 'Vocalist of the Year'.
    • I am so often accused of gloominess and melancholy. And I think I'm probably the most cheerful man around. I don't consider myself a pessimist at all. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel completely soaked to the skin. ... I think those descriptions of me are quite inappropriate to the gravity of the predicament that faces us all. I've always been free from hope. It's never been one of my great solaces. I feel that more and more we're invited to make ourselves strong and cheerful. .... I think that it was Ben Jonson who said, I have studied all the theologies and all the philosophies, but cheerfulness keeps breaking through.
    • Now, I don't want to give you the impression that I'm a great musicologist, but I'm a lot better than what I was described as for a long, long time; you know, people said I only knew three chords when I knew five.
    • I feel that, you know, the enormous luck I've had in being able to make a living, and to never have had to have written one word that I didn't want to write, to be able to have satisfied that dictum I set for myself, which was not to work for pay, but to be paid for my work - just to be able to satisfy those standards that I set for myself has been an enormous privilege.
    • People used to say my music was too difficult or too obscure, and I never set out to be difficult or obscure. I just set out to write what I felt as honestly as I could, and I am delighted when other people feel a part of themselves in the music.
    • This is the very contrary of dropping out. Most people can't wait to get home to their house or apartment and shut that door and turn on the TV. To me, that's dropping out.
    • 'You have loved enough, now let me be the lover.' You could say that God is speaking to you or the cosmos, or your lover. It just means, like, Forget it. Lean back and be loved by all that is already loving you. It is your effort at love that is preventing you from experiencing it. It is like if you ever taught kids how to swim. The most difficult thing is Goddam to understand that they will float, if they relax, if they hold their breath and relax, they will actually float. For most kids it is difficult to swim. They feel they are going to sink like a stone to the bottom of the lake.
    • Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river. You can hear the boats go by, You can spend the night beside her, And you know that she's half crazy But that's why you want to be there, And she feeds you tea and oranges That come all the way from China. And just when you mean to tell her That you have no love to give her Then she gets you on her wavelength And she lets the river answer That you've always been her lover. And you want to travel with her, And you want to travel blind, And you know that she will trust you, For you've touched her perfect body with your mind.
    • And she shows you where to look Among the garbage and the flowers. There are heroes in the seaweed, There are children in the morning, They are leaning out for love, And they will lean that way forever, While Suzanne holds the mirror.
    • Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone. They were waiting for me when I thought that I just can't go on. And they brought me their comfort and later they brought me this song. Oh I hope you run into them, you who've been travelling so long.
    • Yes, you who must leave everything that you cannot control, It begins with your family, and soon it comes round to your soul. Well I've been where you're hanging, I think I can see how you're pinned: When you're not feeling holy your loneliness says that you've sinned.
    • When they lay down beside me I made my confession to them. They touched both my eyes and I touched the dew on their hem. If your life is a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn, They will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem.
    • When I left they were sleeping, I hope you run into them soon. Don't turn on the lights, you can read their address by the moon. And you won't make me jealous if I hear that they sweetened your night: We weren't lovers like that and besides it would still be all right.
    • I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm, Your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm, Yes many loved before us, I know that we are not new, In city and in forest they smiled like me and you, But let's not talk of love or chains and things we can't untie, your eyes are soft with sorrow, Hey, that's no way to say goodbye.
    • 'Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye'
    • Like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir I have tried in my way to be free.
    • You who build these altars now to sacrifice these children, you must not do it anymore. A scheme is not a vision and you never have been tempted by a demon or a god.
    • When it all comes down to dust I will kill you if I must, I will help you if I can. When it all comes down to dust I will help you if I must, I will kill you if I can.
    • Even damnation is poisoned with rainbows
    • I come from a country where we do not have the same struggles as you have. I respect your struggles. And it may surprise you, but I respect both sides of this struggle. It seems to be that in Europe there needs to be a left foot and a right foot to move forward. I wish that both feet move forward and the body moves towards its proper destiny. This is an intense country; the people are heroic, the spirit is independent. It is a difficult country to govern, it needs a strong government and a strong union. ... I would like to say to you, to the leaders of the left, and the leaders of the right, I sing... I sing for everyone. My song has no flag, my song has no party. And I say the prayer, that we said in our synagogue, I say it for the leader of your union and the leader of your party. May the Lord put a spirit, a wisdom and understanding into the hearts of your leaders and into the hearts of all their counsellors.
    • I have no program, I have no five-year plan. ... It doesn't mean that you shouldn't have one! I just move from hotel to hotel, and from bar to bar, and by the grace of the One above occasionally a song comes, and I remember sitting at this particularly obnoxious Polynesian restaurant where they served a kind of coconut drink that was particularly lethal and sinister which contained no alcohol but a certain chemical that demoralized you entirely. And I remember writing on one of their very badly designed napkins, 'I remember you well at the Chelsea Hotel...' so I dedicate this song to one of the great singers, Janis Joplin.
    • I know there is an eye that watches all of us. There is a judgment that weighs everything we do. And before this great force, which is greater than any government I stand in awe and I kneel in respect and it is to this great judgment that I dedicate this next song, 'Hallelujah'.
    • I don't know which side is anybody on any more. I don't really care. There is a moment when we have to transcend the side we're on and understand that we are creatures of a higher order. That doesn't mean that I don't wish you courage in your struggle. There is on both sides of the struggle men of good will. That is important to remember. On both sides of the struggle, some struggling for freedom, some struggling for safety and solemn testimony of that unbroken faith which binds generations one to another I sing this song, 'If It Be Your Will'
    • They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom For trying to change the system from within I'm coming now, I'm coming to reward them First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.
    • I'm guided by a signal in the heavens I'm guided by this birthmark on my skin I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.
    • Ah, you loved me as a loser, but now you're worried that I just might win...
    • Everybody knows that the dice are loaded Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed Everybody knows that the war is over Everybody knows the good guys lost Everybody knows the fight was fixed The poor stay poor, the rich get rich That's how it goes Everybody knows.
    • 'Everybody Knows' (co-written with Sharon Robinson)
    • If you want a lover I'll do anything you ask me to. And if you want another kind of love I'll wear a mask for you.
    • Here I stand, I'm your man.
    • I've seen the future, brother: it is murder.
    • Waiting for the miracle There's nothing left to do. I haven't been this happy since the end of World War II.
    • If you're squeezed for information, that's when you've got to play it dumb: You just say you're out there waiting for the miracle to come.
    • We're drinking and we're dancing but there's nothing really happening. The place is dead as Heaven on a Saturday night.
    • Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.
    • But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags that time cannot decay, I'm junk but I'm still holding up this little wild bouquet: Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.'
    • And here you are hurried, And here you are gone; And here is the love, That it's all built upon.
    • Here is your cross, Your nails and your hill; And here is your love, That lists where it will
    • May everyone live, And may everyone die. Hello, my love, And my love, Goodbye.
    • The light came through the window, Straight from the sun above, And so inside my little room There plunged the rays of Love. In streams of light I clearly saw The dust you seldom see, Out of which the Nameless makes A Name for one like me.
    • All busy in the sunlight The flecks did float and dance, And I was tumbled up with them In formless circumstance.
    • I'll try to say a little more: Love went on and on Until it reached an open door - Then Love Itself Love Itself was gone.
    • You whisper, 'You have loved enough, Now let me be the Lover.'
    • I swept the marble chambers, But you sent me down below. You kept me from believing Until you let me know: That I am not the one who loves - It's love that chooses me. When hatred with his package comes, You forbid delivery.
    • Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh. It is easy to display a wound, the proud scars of combat. It is hard to show a pimple.
    • I fought against the bottle but I had to do it drunk
    • complain complain that's all you've done ever since we lost, if it's not the crucifixion then it's the holocaust
    • It's true that all the men you knew were dealers / who said they were through with dealing / Every time you gave them shelter / I know that kind of man / It's hard to hold the hand of anyone / who is reaching for the sky just to surrender
    • So the great affair is over/ but whoever would have guessed/ it would leave us all so vacant/ and so deeply unimpressed/ It's like our visit to the moon/ or to that other star/ I guess you go for nothing/ if you really want to go that far
    • You say I took the name in vain. I don't even know the name. But if I did, well really, what's it to you? / There's a blaze of light in every word; it doesn't matter which you heard: the holy or the broken hallelujah.
    • Everybody knows that you love me baby/ Everybody knows that you really do/ Everybody knows that you've been faithful/ Ah give or take a night or two/ Everybody knows you've been discreet/ But there were so many people you just had to meet/ without your clothes/ And everybody knows
    • And sometimes when the night is slow/ The wretched and the meek/ We gather up our hearts and go/ A Thousand Kisses Deep.
    • Transparent, weightless, luminous/ Uncovering the two of us/ On that fundamental ground/ Where love's unwilled, unleashed, unbound/ And half the perfect world is found.'
    • And clenching your fist for the ones like us who are oppressed by the figures of beauty, you fixed yourself, you said, 'Well never mind, we are ugly but we have the music.'
    • We taught him how to dress, and he taught us how to live, forever.
    • What if I had to Live here without you Oh, I don't really want to know Where you goin', Lenny Cohen?
    • You're a Leonard Cohen song
    • I tell you who I also think is wonderful is a chap called Leonard Cohen : do you know him? [:] He's remarkable. I mean, the orchestration is fantastic and the words, the lyrics and everything, he's a remarkable man, and has this incredibly sort of laid back gravelly voice, it's terrific stuff I think. I enjoy jazz and things:
    • In the Canadian film Hardcore Logo, a Canadian punk rocker suggests 'Faster, Leonard Cohen! Die! Die!' as a possible band name. This also refers to the film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!.
    • Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld So I can sigh eternally
    • But I was caught, like a fleeting thought Stuck inside Leonard Cohen's mind
    • No one says naked like Leonard Cohen.
    • I don't want, no I really don't want To be John Lennon or Leonard Cohen I just want to be my Dad.
    • No one ever listens to me. I might as well be a Leonard Cohen record.
    • A nation comes to freedom in thousands of steps - some of them huge leaps, the others little. And the evening with Leonard Cohen more than twenty years ago was an evening of hope. Difficult as much to him as it was to us. Not necessarily political but intimate. And I learned to appreciate the power of intimacy. There are moments when nothing can get between you and the other person. And when this person is Leonard Cohen himself you feel blessed. And you feel free.
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