Sunday, 5 October 2014

Art of the Book - Leonard Cohen's "Parasites of Heaven" (1966)

Portrait of the anguished artist as a young man .. perhaps!

A fine poetry collection from the master. One that included the lyrics for what would become one of his best known, and most covered songs, Suzanne.

The first publication of several poems which would later be more fully realised as songs, - most notably, a version of the lyrics of what would become one of his best known, and most covered songs, Suzanne.

Cohen, in fact, would return to this collection for a number of different albums over the coming decade.

Songs Of Leonard Cohen (1967) would include ...
‘Suzanne’ – published as the poem ‘Suzanne Takes You Down’ in Parasites Of Heaven.   
‘Master Song’ – published as the poem ‘I Believe You Hear Your Master Sing’  in Parasites Of Heaven.      
‘Teachers’ – published as the poem ‘I Met A Woman Long Ago’ in Parasites Of Heaven.  
Songs Of Love And Hate (1971) would include ..
‘Avalanche’ – published as the poem ‘I Stepped Into An Avalanche’ in Parasites Of Heaven. 
Death Of A Ladies’ Man (1977) would include ..
‘Fingerprints’ – published as the poem ‘Give Me Back My Fingerprints’ in Parasites Of Heaven.  

Parasites of Heaven
Copyright © 1966 by
Leonard Cohen
So you're the kind of vegetarianO God as I called you before
It's not so hard to say goodbyeHere was the Harbour, crowded with white ships...
The nightmares do not suddenlyHe was lame
A cross didn't fall on meI am too loud when you are gone
In the Bible generations pass...You know where I have been
Ah, what were the names I gave youSomewhere in my trophy room...
One night I burned the house I lovedI guess it's time to say goodbye...
Give me dog, dogs, wolves, to serve, praise, kneelFor a long while I have been watching the city
You know there was honey in my systemI was standing on the stairs
Nothing has been brokenSnow is falling
Here we are at the windowHere was the Market...
When I paid the sun to runI am anointed with directions
O love intrude into this strangerhoodI met a woman long ago
Clean as the grass from whichYou are the Model
Terribly awake I waitI've seen some lonely history
I wonder if my brother will ever read thisNo disease or age makes the flesh unwind
I see you on a Greek mattressThese notebooks, these notebooks
Suzanne wears a leather coatCreated fires I cannot love
Desperate sexual admiralsClaim me, blood, if you have a story
Nancy lies in London grassWhen a world is being born
You broke the thin highwayHe was beautiful when he sat alone
Two went to sleepI am a priest of God
What did I do with my breathIn almond trees lemon trees
I met Doc Dog The Poker HoundSuzanne takes you down
Found once again shamelessly ignoring the swans...Give me back my fingerprints
The stars turn their noble storiesForeign God, reigning in earthly glory...
When I hear you singThis morning I was dressed by the wind
My secret fell on a languageI believe you heard your master sing
A goldfish died in a cloudy bowlI stepped into an avalanche

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