my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?

3.23.2008

Tea and Oranges that Come All the Way from China

Once there was a sullen teenager who sat in her dorm room, smoking cigarettes in the flickering candlelight and pretty much believing Cohen had written this song about her. Never mind that her college was landlocked in the midwest and there was no river -- or boat -- in miles.

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 Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you'll trust him
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind.
Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our Lady of the Harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the mourning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind.
painting Scott William Simmons 2003

4 Comments:

Blogger ariel said...

I have never bothered to read the lyrics of this song before... beautiful. Only drowning men could see him? There must be if just one time in everybody's life when they open their eyes if just for one moment. He wants you to open your eyes and never close them again. But this is so difficult. Yoda said, 'No try. Do or no not. There is no try.'

Thank you for make me read these lyrics, Mireille! Oranges are good.

1:28 AM

 
Blogger Doug said...

Leonard Cohen is a little too sincere. Someone should say something to him.

2:44 AM

 
Blogger Bela said...

OK, Doug, I'll have a word with him on July 17th, when, together with 19,999 other people, I will be listening to him at the O2 Arena (aka The Dome) in London. :-)

Love the guy!

5:12 PM

 
Blogger Trina said...

Have you heard the Peter Gabriel version of this on "Tower of Song"? I think it's on par with the Judy Collins rendition. His voice isn't as good, but the instrumentals are phenomenal!

Yes - I grew up on Cohen too, alongside the Fab Four. My mom and I do an insane cover of "Hallelujah", and will make you cry with "Un Canadien Errant".

8:50 PM

 

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