01/09/2022... 'Vladimir Vladimirovitsj' - 'brief aan Jeroen Brouwers' - Claude Monet - Shodo - Remco Campert - Arno ...

Leonard Cohen


Famous blue raincoat

It's four in the morning, the end of December
I'm writing you now just to see if you're better
New York is cold, but I like where I'm living
There's music on Clinton Street all through the evening
I hear that you're building
Your little house deep in the desert
You're living for nothing now
I hope you're keeping some kind of record

Yes, and Jane came by with a lock of your hair
She said that you gave it to her
That night that you planned to go clear
Did you ever go clear?

Oh, the last time we saw you you looked so much older
Your famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulder
You'd been to the station to meet every train
But then you came home without Lili Marlene
And you treated my woman
To a flake of your life
And when she came back
She was nobody's wife

And what can I tell you my brother, my killer?
What can I possibly say?
I guess that I miss you. I guess I forgive you
I'm glad you stood in my way
If you ever come by here
For Jane or for me
Well, your enemy is sleeping
And his woman is free

Yes, and thanks for the trouble
You took from her eyes
I thought it was there for good
So I never tried
And Jane came by with a lock of your hair
She said that you gave it to her
That night that you planned to go clear
Sincerely, L. Cohen

Song over de breuk tussen een man (schrijver van de brief) en zijn vriendin (Jane) omwille van een ware of vermeende driehoeksrelatie. De brief is gericht aan zijn gewezen beste vriend ('you, my brother, my killer') met wie Jane ontrouw zou gepleegd hebben.
Song, ondergedompeld in een sfeer van melancholie en met monotone stem gezongen, typisch stijlkenmerk van Cohen, waarin verwijt en verbittering doorklinken, maar evenzeer vergeving en berusting.

Chelsea hotel


I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
You were talking so brave and so sweet
Giving me head on the unmade bed
While the limousines wait in the street

And those were the reasons and that was New York
We were running for the money and the flesh
And that was called love for the workers in song
Probably still is for those who've never left

Ah, but you got away, didn't you, baby?
You just threw it all to the ground
You got away, I never once heard you say
I need you, I don't need you, I need you, I don't need you
And all of that jiving around

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
You were famous, your heart was a legend
You told me again you preferred handsome men
But for me you'd make an exception

And then 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

And then you got away, didn't you, baby?
Ah, you just turned your back on the crowd
You got away, I never once heard you say
I need you, I don't need you, I need you, I don't need you
And all of that jiving around

I don't mean to suggest that I loved you the best
I can't keep track of each fallen robin
I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
That's all, my little darling, I don't even think of you that often


Opgedragen aan Janis Joplin, met wie hij een kortstondige relatie had bij zijn doortocht langs het New Yorkse Chelsea Hotel in de late jaren '60. Het vermaarde hotel was in die tijd een ontmoetingsplaats voor artiesten en celebrities allerhande.


singer-songwriter, muzikant, schrijver en dichter
(1934 - 2016)

'There is a crack in everything,
that's how the light gets in'


Bird on the wire


Like a bird on the wire,

like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook,
like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.

If I, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by.
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you.
Like a baby, stillborn,
like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me.

But I swear by this song
and by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee.
I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
he said to me, "You must not ask for so much."
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, "Hey, why not ask for more?"

Oh like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.


'How can I begin anything now with all of yesterday in me'

'My page was too white
my ink was too thin
the day wouldn't write
what the night pencilled in'

Postuum verscheen in 2019 het album Thanks for the dance, door zijn zoon Adam samengesteld uit restmateriaal van de opnamesessies voor Cohens  afscheidsalbum You want it darker'.

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