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Jude's avatar

Would love to hear your interpertation of these lyrics (old Leonard Cohen song)

Asked by Jude (32112points) June 15th, 2009

Leonard Cohen – One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong


I lit a thin green candle
To make you jealous of me,
But the room just filled up with mosquitoes
They heard that my body was free
Then I took the dust of a long sleepless night
And I put it in your little shoe,
Then I confess that I tortured the dress
That you wore for the world to look through.

I showed my heart to the doctor
He said Id just have to quit
Then he wrote himself a prescription
And your name was mentioned in it,
Then he locked himself in a library shelf
With the details of our honeymoon
And I hear from the nurse that hes gotten much worse
And his practice is all in a ruin.

I heard of a saint who had loved you
So I studied all night in his school
He taught that the duty of lovers
Is to tarnish the golden rule,
And just when I was sure that his teachings were pure
He drowned himself in the pool,
His body is gone, but back here on the lawn
His spirit continues to drool.

An eskimo showed me a movie
Hed recently taken of you
The poor man could hardly stop shivering,
His lips and his fingers were blue
I suppose that he froze when the wind took your clothes
And I guess he just never got warm
But you stand there so nice in your blizzard of ice
O please let me come into the storm.

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7 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

Like many of his songs, it would take at least a couple of page to answer this. He hasn’t been nominated as Poet Laureate several times for no reason. Have you read any of his books? He explains some of his lyrics (apart from the obvious) gives the back story in some of them.

Coincidentally, I had “Closing Time” playing on iTunes when your question came up.

filmfann's avatar

I love the song “Dance me to the end of love”

janbb's avatar

It’s pretty much what every song is about – unrequited love or a relationship gone bad – but Leonard does it with a lot more poetic imagery than most.

wundayatta's avatar

What is interesting to me is the playfulness of the images and the rhymes. It suggests to me that he was just kind of fooling around, writing anything that fit with the meter and rhyme scheme as long as it was vaguely related to the topic. It is kind of dreamlike, too. Maybe he was on acid at the time?

I kind of think he was just messing around in a Lewis Carrol kind of way.

ubersiren's avatar

Ooooh, fun! Ok, I totally just pulled this out of my ass, but here’s what I got.

Dude slept with some chick to make his woman jealous, but then more chicks kept coming and took advantage of his fragile state. Then dude did some coke and shared it with his woman, leading her to lose her public reputation. It was all breaking his heart, so he talked to his buddy about it who, it turns out had been banging his woman. Dude decided the best way to turn it all around was to live only for his woman and forget all the skanks and drugs and to commit to her so his buddy couldn’t have her, which made buddy very depressed and has ruined his love life. Dude decided to follow the actions of his woman’s former lover who all her friends and family approved of. But just as he thought he was doing what would win him big brownie points, he discovered the fatal mistake that the former lover had made. Now he’s stuck following the same path. Another of his woman’s ex-lovers was gossiping about how she plays the love ‘em and leave ‘em bit, and unfortunately it meant more to him at the time and left him emotionally scarred. So our main Dude has realized that she will never truly be his because she’s not one to settle and never truly lets anyone into her world, but all he’s asking now is to be in as long as she’ll have him.


Jude's avatar

@DarkScribe I love his poetry. A true Canadian legend; someone who we’re proud to call our own (unlike Celine Dion).

Jack79's avatar

What DardkScribe said.

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