Poems and photos by Leonard Cohen

Dusko’s Taverna 1967

(Unpublished 1967)

They are still singing down at Dusko's,
sitting under the ancient pine tree,
in the deep night of fixed and falling stars.
If you go to your window you can hear them.
It is the end of someone's wedding,
or perhaps a boy is leaving on a boat in the morning.
There is a place for you at the table,
wine for you, and apples from the mainland,
a space in the songs for your voice.
Throw something on,
and whoever it is you must tell
that you are leaving,
tell them, or take them, but hurry:
they have sent for you ––
the call has come ––
they will not wait forever.
They are not even waiting now.

No. 63

(The Energy of Slaves, 1972)

Dance on the money
the heads of presidents
red toenails

this ‘poem’ is an I.O.U.
for 10,000 drachmas
on your step-smooth shoulders

My table rushes up
to give you a marble stage
black olives live forever
in the tired oil of your grace

Sinking under needles of bazouki
you threaten us with jobs in the Sahara
or a salary of halvah
oh the hair is real
that pilots the thighs
into the important satin theatre
ruined like Greece by overuse
but all we have of the Golden age

Your courting clothes sleeping in cedar
your grandmother still alive on Hydra
‘Don’t tell her that you saw me naked’

A Deep Happiness

(Stranger Music, 1993)

A deep happiness has sized me
My Christian friends say
that I have received the Holy Spirit
It is only truth of solitude
It is only the torn anemone
fastened to the rock its root exposed
to the off-shore wind
O friend of my scribbled life
your heart is like mine –
your loneliness will bring you home

Hydra 1981


Poems and photos © Leonard Cohen. Reprinted
with permission. All rights reserved.