In the February Magazine, in a belated little tribute to the great Canadian poet/songwriter Leonard Cohen (may he rest in peace), Bumba did So Long Marianne  The lovely Resa, also from Canada, whose blog is a delight, asked if I could try Suzanne. At first I was worried that there were too many words to remember. However, I only needed a quick glance at the lyrics and I found I could recall all the words, no sweat. It’s interesting how deeply embedded these songs are. How many times I must have listened to them! The Beatles, the early Dylan songs –  they’re imprinted pretty good. Now, if only I could remember where I left my glasses… Anyhow, here’s a version of Suzanne , a song first recorded and introduced into the folk music world by Judy Collins, and which launched Cohen’s career as a folksinger. Here are the lyrics for both the songs, so no excuse if you don’t sing along.

SO LONG, MARIANNE

Come over to the window, my little darling,
I’d like to try to read your palm.
I used to think I was some kind of Gypsy boy
before I let you take me home.
Now so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began
to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again.

Well you know that I love to live with you,
but you make me forget so very much.
I forget to pray for the angels
and then the angels forget to pray for us.

Now so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began …

We met when we were almost young
deep in the green lilac park.
You held on to me like I was a crucifix,
as we went kneeling through the dark.

Oh so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began …

Your letters they all say that you’re beside me now.
Then why do I feel alone?
I’m standing on a ledge and your fine spider web
is fastening my ankle to a stone.

Now so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began …

For now I need your hidden love.
I’m cold as a new razor blade.
You left when I told you I was curious,
I never said that I was brave.

Oh so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began …

Oh, you are really such a pretty one.
I see you’ve gone and changed your name again.
And just when I climbed this whole mountainside,
to wash my eyelids in the rain!

Oh so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began …

**************

SUZANNE

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 wanna 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.

[Chorus]
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.

[Chorus]
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 morning,
They are leaning out for love and they will lean that way forever,
While Suzanne holds the mirror.images-2

[Chorus]
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.

 

 

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