Photo © 1996 Lindsay Lozon


Nancy White wrote this song for the CBC Radio One
Birthday special and performed it on Leonard's
65th birthday on September 21, 1999.

Oh, Leonard's up the mountain now
He's in some monastery
So, damn it all
He's more than ever
Out of reach to me
But, hey, what could I say
To a wise old monk like that
Hey, Leonard, does this robe make me look fat

Oh, Leonard's up the mountain now
He rises before dawn
But even though he's far away
He's not really gone
I see him in The Globe and Mail
I see him on TV
As yet another hapless video crew
Goes panting up the path to Mt. Baldy

And we catch him in the kitchen
Washing out his humble bowl
As he tries to purge his body
Of the nights of rock 'n' roll
And ladies all around the world say
"We don't mind the Zen"
But, Leonard, let your hair grow long again

It seems to me the world has lots of monks and meditators
And some come up with brand-new thoughts
And some are just translators
But what the world needs now is Leonard Cohen as he was
'Cause nobody loves women truly madly deeply
Like our Leonard does

Oh, Leonard, how we crave your love
We're waiting at some station
Pretending we're the ones receiving your sweet admiration
We're not religious but if you walked in we'd say, "Amen"
But, Leonard, let your hair grow long again
And for the record from The Sisters
Happy, holy, sacred, awesome birthday, Brother Len

© 1999 by Nancy White. All rights reserved.
Thanks to Judith Fitzgerald for the transcription.


Nancy White has recorded an exceptional and funny song titled Leonard Cohen's Never Gonna Bring My Groceries In. The lyrics and the melodies steal-and-borrow Leonard's originals (like Famous Blue Rain-coat, Nancy, Tower of Song). The song is credited to Nancy White,with a little borrowing from L.C. himself. The album title is hinting what you are going to hear: Momnipotent - Songs for Weary Parents.

I was listening to music as I swept the kitchen floor.
I was needing a shampoo and I was pushing 44.
And I had one of those flashes that hits you now and then
About experience manqué and certain sadly missing men.
And I realized in horror as I stroked my double chin,
Leonard Cohen's never gonna bring my groceries in!

I've a husband and a baby, there's another on the way.
And, like Leonard, I am aching in the place I used to play.
But really, I'm enjoying all this domesticity.
Hey, I never have to deal with Warren Beatty's vanity.
But there is one thing I regret, and my regret is genuine.
Leonard Cohen's never gonna bring my groceries in.

Oh Leonard and me, together we'd be great.
Strumming our guitars and singing songs while it got late!
(Well, not TOO late, these days I kind of fold about eleven.
But for a little while it would be heaven, heaven, heaven.)
Oh, Leonard and me, we'd be so decadent.
We'd look at all those bottles, wonder where the wine all went.
(Well frankly I can't drink it anymore, my head can't take it.
But I know me and Leonard we could make it, make it.)

I love each line he's written, Except for maybe one:
"Nancy wore green stockings [Male chorus] and she slept with
I thought: "What if somebody thinks he's singing about me?"
'Cause after all, I lived in Montreal in 1963.
And perhaps I was his type when I was young and sweet and thin.
But now Leonard's never gonna bring my groceries in.

Oh, Leonard and me, we're soulmates, there's no doubt.
I feel it in my heart, we'd have so much to talk about.
We'd hole up in the Tower of Song with coffee strong and bitter.
That is, of course, if I could get a sitter,
A sitter, a sitter.
Hey, I'm just some singer looking for a sitter.

[Nancy White's gushingly spoken words over Cohen-type "la, la, la, la"
female chorus] OK wait! Leonard! Hey maybe Leonard could babysit. Yeah,
Oh he'd be wonderful, the girls would love him. He can read stories.
A poet can always use an extra five dollars an hour. He would be perfect.
How can I get his number? Hmm, Marie-Lynn Hammond she'll have his
number. I know she will. I'm going to call her right now. This is inspiring.
I am so happy! So Leonard Cohen can babysit and Doug and I can go to the
mall and pick out the new towels for the bathroom. [pause]
That's what I really want to do.
Of course, [pause and sexy, sotto voce] 'cause maybe I can be the
one to drive the babysitter home tonight.

The above version of the spoken ad-lib section is as recorded on the CD. Nancy indicates that these lyrics evolve over time. Currently she is saying "I'll call Rita, Rita's everybody's friend." This will probably change soon, since this is a reference to Rita McNeill who had a TV show on CBC called "Rita and Friends" which has now been cancelled.

*) "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy" on Leonard Cohen's Songs from a Room

© 1990 Multinan Inc., SOCAN. 4:15.
Lyrics reprinted with permission.
Cat. # SANCD 1025, Children's Group, Toronto, 1990.
Published by Mouton Records.

Nancy White, vocals. Doug Wilde, Rick Whitelaw,
Bob Johnston, instruments. Le Voix Mystere des Vulgaires,
background vocals.

Nancy White's comment on the song (from the CD booklet): Nancy wrote this song while eleven [sic] months pregnant with daughter number two. They say that if you have one child, you can have some kind of other life, but that with two, you're a mommy and that's IT! Nancy was thinking about this and feeling that maybe this was goodbye to romance and adventure for the REST OF HER LIFE!!! She put on Leonard Cohen's glorious new album [I'm your man, Feb. 1988] to cheer herself up. It didn't work.

Richard L Hess introduces Nancy's work: Nancy White is the queen of the topical song and the zip-lock bag. She's an ACTRA award-winning singer-songwriter who does concerts all over Canada, and is best known for her fifteen years doing songs about the news on CBC Radio's Sunday Morning. Among her most popular albums are Momnipotent: Songs for Weary Parents, Pumping Irony, and Homely for the Holidays. Her latest album, Gaelic Envy and Other Torch Songs, has received excellent reviews in Canada and the US.

Nancy was born in Prince Edward Island (before The Link), went to Dalhousie, studied Spanish in Guatemala, lives in Toronto with her two daughters, eleven and seven (1997), and her cat, Jack. She does not bake her own bread, tends to vote NDP--however hopeless that may seem in Ontario--and plays guitar, banjo, and piano. She claims her house is a shambles, her garden a disaster, that she hates long walks and candelight dinners, BUT we know she sings on key and gets to the real story!

Thanks to Rudi Schmid,
for transcribing the lyrics and finding the CD,
and to Nancy White and Richard L Hess for proofreading Rudi's sketch.
Photo by Lindsay Lozon used with permission.
Nancy White at Myspace and Annie & Gilbert (musical)