[lit-ideas] Re: Going Home

  • From: Ursula Stange <Ursula@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2012 20:30:30 -0500

Like "Show me the place," this song is about what dying is about. The speaker could be God but, more likely, Leonard, himself, speaking for a God who doesn't exist. (For someone as thoughtful and full of words as Cohen, it probably comes to the same thing.) The phrase "Going home'" is obvious. The curtain is obvious. Going without the costume that he wore is obvious. Not having the freedom to refuse what needs saying is about the artist's enslavement to his muse. We like to think we have wisdom as we (s)age. But we can't help recognizing our puny stature in the mighty universe, hence the 'brief elaboration.' Verses 4 and 5 are about human nature and the artist's call to both notice and respond to the pain we cause each other. Verses 6 and 7 seem more difficult. Perhaps they point to the desire for simplicity and completeness before sticking our thumbs out for the last ride. Something is trying to tell him that he's readier than he thinks, but there's something about being human that makes us value our skin too much (a Buddhist lesson?). And then a reference to the lack of free will, perhaps a little band-aid to soothe our failures and disappointments. The chorus (especially the schmaltzy Greek chorus) is somewhat upbeat...a criticism of our fear of death?


It's a beautiful song and, right or wrong, I shouldn't have done this to it. I'm going to go and wash my hands.


On 12-01-19 7:19 PM, Andy wrote:
I had a little time and I thought it might be fun to try something a little different. Rather than me tell you what I think is going on with this poem, I'm going to give you a great big huge hint, as in really really big. Below is a song that to me is what I think LC is leaving behind on his way home.He's not home yet.The home of course is metaphorical; think dream imagery. Think too a little of John Berryman.I have a feeling you all out there will instantly get it. If not and I need to make my case better, I'd be happy to hear where I went wrong. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwfmbXJEBtY&ob=av2n <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwfmbXJEBtY&ob=av2n>
I love to speak with Leonard
He’s a sportsman and a shepherd
He’s a lazy bastard
Living in a suit
But he does say what I tell him
Even though it isn’t welcome
He will never have the freedom
To refuse
He will speak these words of wisdom
Like a sage, a man of vision
Though he knows he’s really nothing
But the brief elaboration of a tube
/Going home/
/Without my sorrow/
/Going home/
/Sometime tomorrow/
/To where it’s better/
/Than before/
/Going home/
/Without my burden/
/Going home/
/Behind the curtain/
/Going home/
/Without the costume/
/That I wore/
He wants to write a love song
An anthem of forgiving
A manual for living with defeat
A cry above the suffering
A sacrifice recovering
But that isn’t what I want him to complete
I want to make him certain
That he doesn’t have a burden
That he doesn’t need a vision
That he only has permission
To do my instant bidding
That is to SAYwhat I have told him
To repeat
/Going home/
/Without my sorrow/
/Going home/
/Sometime tomorrow/
/Going home/
/To where it’s better/
/Than before/
/Going home/
/Without my burden/
/Going home/
/Behind the curtain/
/Going home/
/Without the costume/
/That I wore/
I love to speak with Leonard
He’s a sportsman and a shepherd
He’s a lazy bastard
Living in a suit

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