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Leonard Cohen quotes (showing 91-120 of 342)

“My interest in this pack of failures betrays my character.”
Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers
“It doesn't matter how anything happens.”
Leonard Cohen, The Favorite Game
“Yeah I missed you since the place got wrecked
By the winds of change and the weeds of sex
looks like freedom but it feels like death
it's something in between, I guess
it's closing time.”
Leonard Cohen
“It was a dance of masks and every mask was perfect because every mask was a real face and every face was a
real mask so there was no mask and there was no face for there was but one dance in which there was but
one mask but one true face which was the same and which was a thing without a name which changed and
changed into itself over and over.”
Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers
“what is the expression which the age demands? the age demands no expression whatever. we have seen photographs of bereaved asian mothers. we are not interested in the agony of your fumbled organs. there is nothing you can show on your face that can match the horror of this time. do not even try. you will only hold yourself up to the scorn of those who have felt things deeply. we have seen newsreels of humans in the extremities of pain and dislocation.
you are playing to people who have experienced a catastrophe. this should make you very quiet. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. everyone knows you are in pain. you cannot tell the audience everything you know about love in every line of love you speak. step aside and they will know what you know because you know it already. you have nothing to teach them. you are not more beautiful than they are. you are not wiser.
do not shout at them. do not force a dry entry. that is bad sex. if you show the lines of your genitals, then deliver what you promise. and remember that people do not really want an acrobat in bed. what is our need? to be close to the natural man, to be close to the natural woman. do not pretend that you are a beloved singer with a vast loyal audience which has followed the ups and downs of your life to this very moment. the bombs, flame-throwers, and all the shit have destroyed more than just the trees and villages. they have also destroyed the stage. did you think that your profession would escape the general destruction? there is no more stage. there are no more footlights. you are among the people. then be modest. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. be by yourself. be in your own room. do not put yourself on.
do not act out words. never act out words. never try to leave the floor when you talk about flying. never close your eyes and jerk your head to one side when you talk about death. do not fix your burning eyes on me when you speak about love. if you want to impress me when you speak about love put your hand in your pocket or under your dress and play with yourself. if ambition and the hunger for applause have driven you to speak about love you should learn how to do it without disgracing yourself or the material.
this is an interior landscape. it is inside. it is private. respect the privacy of the material. these pieces were written in silence. the courage of the play is to speak them. the discipline of the play is not to violate them. let the audience feel your love of privacy even though there is no privacy. be good whores. the poem is not a slogan. it cannot advertise you. it cannot promote your reputation for sensitivity. you are students of discipline. do not act out the words. the words die when you act them out, they wither, and we are left with nothing but your ambition.
the poem is nothing but information. it is the constitution of the inner country. if you declaim it and blow it up with noble intentions then you are no better than the politicians whom you despise. you are just someone waving a flag and making the cheapest kind of appeal to a kind of emotional patriotism. think of the words as science, not as art. they are a report. you are speaking before a meeting of the explorers' club of the national geographic society. these people know all the risks of mountain climbing. they honour you by taking this for granted. if you rub their faces in it that is an insult to their hospitality. do not work the audience for gasps ans sighs. if you are worthy of gasps and sighs it will not be from your appreciation of the event but from theirs. it will be in the statistics and not the trembling of the voice or the cutting of the air with your hands. it will be in the data and the quiet organization of your presence.
avoid the flourish. do not be afraid to be weak. do not be ashamed to be tired. you look good when you're tired. you look like you could go on forever. now come into my arms. you are the image of my beauty.”
Leonard Cohen, Death of a Lady's Man
“It's like a bear stumbling into a beehive or a honey cache: I'm stumbling right into it and getting stuck, and it's delicious and it's horrible and I'm in it and it's not very graceful and it's very awkward and it's very painful and yet there's something inevitable about it.”
Leonard Cohen
“Who could have foretold
the heart grows old
from touching others”
Leonard Cohen, The Energy of Slaves
“Maybe there's a God above,
As for me, all I've ever seemed to learn from love
Is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.
Yeah but it's not a complaint that you hear tonight,
It's not the laughter of someone who claims to have seen the light
No it's a cold and it's a very lonely Hallelujah.”
Leonard Cohen
“I am not the one who loved, it's love that chooses me.
When hatred with it's package comes, you forbid delivery.”
Leonard Cohen
“You should go
from place to place
recovering the poems
that have been written for you
to which you can affix your signature.
Don't discuss these matters
with anyone.
Retrieve. Retrieve.
When the basket is full
someone will appear
to whom you can present it.”
Leonard Cohen, Book of Longing
tags: poems
“Garages, barns and attics are always older than the buildings to which they are attached.”
Leonard Cohen, The Favorite Game
“I will not be held like a drunkard / under the cold tap of facts”
Leonard Cohen
“I found that things became a lot easier when I no longer expected to win. You abandon your masterpiece and sink into the real masterpiece.”
Leonard Cohen
“It's four in the morning, the end of december
I'm writing you now just to see if you're better.”
Leonard Cohen
“Stunned and still not suffering. Swollen with care and anxiety and still not suffering. Useless, old and full of grief, but still not suffering.”
Leonard Cohen, Book of Longing
“The Maestro says it's Mozart but it sounds like bubble gum when you're waiting for the miracle to come.”
Leonard Cohen
“I know she is coming
I know she will look
And that is the longing
And this is the book.”
Leonard Cohen, Book of Longing
“DEAR DI­ARY
You are greater than the Bible
And the Con­fer­ence of the Birds
And the Up­an­ishads
All put to­geth­er
You are more se­vere
Than the Scrip­tures
And Ham­mura­bi’s Code
More dan­ger­ous than Luther’s pa­per
Nailed to the Cathe­dral door
You are sweet­er
Than the Song of Songs
Might­ier by far
Than the Epic of Gil­gamesh
And braver
Than the Sagas of Ice­land
I bow my head in grat­itude
To the ones who give their lives
To keep the se­cret
The dai­ly se­cret
Un­der lock and key
Dear Di­ary
I mean no dis­re­spect
But you are more sub­lime
Than any Sa­cred Text
Some­times just a list
Of my events
Is holi­er than the Bill of Rights
And more in­tense”
Leonard Cohen, Book of Longing
“At first first nothing will happen to us
and later on
it will happen to us again.”
Leonard Cohen
“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.”
Leonard Cohen
“Believe nothing of me
except that I felt your beauty
more closely than my own.”
Leonard Cohen, The Spice Box of Earth
“As the mist leaves no scar
On the dark green hill
So my body leaves no scar
On you and never will”
Leonard Cohen
“I don't even hate books anymore.”
Leonard Cohen
“It’s a pity if someone… has to console himself for the wreck of his days with the notion that somehow his voice, his work embodies the deepest, most obscure, freshest, rawest oyster of reality in the unfathomable refrigerator of the heart’s ocean, but I am such a one, and there you have it.”
Leonard Cohen, Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs
“Well, I've been waiting, I was sure
we'd meet between the trains we're waiting for
I think it's time to board another
Please understand, I never had a secret chart
to get me to the heart of this
or any other matter”
Leonard Cohen
“The flowers that I left in the ground,
that I did not gather for you,
today I bring them all back,
to let them grow forever,
not in poems or marble,
but where they fell and rotted.

And the ships in their great stalls,
huge and transitory as heroes,
ships I could not captain,
today I bring them back
to let them sail forever,
not in model or ballad,
but where they were wrecked and scuttled.

And the child on whose shoulders I stand,
whose longing I purged
with public, kingly discipline,
today I bring him back
to languish forever,
not in confession or biography,
but where he flourished,
growing sly and hairy.

It is not malice that draws me away,
draws me to renunciation, betrayal:
it is weariness, I go for weariness of thee,
Gold, ivory, flesh, love, God, blood, moon-
I have become the expert of the catalogue.

My body once so familiar with glory,
My body has become a museum:
this part remembered because of someone's mouth,
this because of a hand,
this of wetness, this of heat.

Who owns anything he has not made?
With your beauty I am as uninvolved
as with horses' manes and waterfalls.
This is my last catalogue.
I breathe the breathless
I love you, I love you -
and let you move forever.”
Leonard Cohen, Selected Poems, 1956-1968
“From bitter searching of the heart,
quickened with passion and with pain
we rise
to play a greater part
this is the faith from which we start.”
Leonard Cohen
“I told the truth, I didn't come to fool you”
Leonard Cohen
“this is not a Quote it's a poem.
"A Thousand Kisses Deep"

The ponies run, the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat.
You win a while, and then it’s done –
Your little winning streak.
And summoned now to deal
With your invincible defeat,
You live your life as if it’s real,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

I’m turning tricks, I’m getting fixed,
I’m back on Boogie Street.
You lose your grip, and then you slip
Into the Masterpiece.
And maybe I had miles to drive,
And promises to keep:
You ditch it all to stay alive,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

And sometimes when the night is slow,
The wretched and the meek,
We gather up our hearts and go,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

Confined to sex, we pressed against
The limits of the sea:
I saw there were no oceans left
For scavengers like me.
I made it to the forward deck.
I blessed our remnant fleet –
And then consented to be wrecked,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

I’m turning tricks, I’m getting fixed,
I’m back on Boogie Street.
I guess they won’t exchange the gifts
That you were meant to keep.
And quiet is the thought of you,
The file on you complete,
Except what we forgot to do,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

And sometimes when the night is slow,
The wretched and the meek,
We gather up our hearts and go,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

The ponies run, the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat . . .”
Leonard Cohen
“Everything has a crack in it; that's how the light gets in.”
Leonard Cohen


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