Cohen and Lorca: poetry comes from a place that nobody controls, that nobody conquers - language and other lights

After the death of the poet and musician Leonard Cohen, I feel the need to pay him homage, like many he did to our music and our poetry. On one occasion he said referring to García Lorca: "With Lorca I learned that poetry can be pure and profound and at the same time popular."


"I learned with him to use surrealism and the possibility of using dreams as an expressive technique"

Leonard Cohen in Granada, 1986 In Vienna there are ten girls, one shoulder where the death sobs

and a forest of dissected pigeons.
There is a fragment of the morning
in the museum of the frost. There is a hall with a thousand windows.

Ay, ay, ay, Take this waltz with your mouth closed.

This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz, with your self, death and cognac, you wet your tail in the sea.

I love you, I love you, I love you, with the armchair and the dead book,
the melancholy corridor,
in the dark loft of the lily < in our bed of the moon and in the dance that dreams of tortoise.

In Vienna there are four mirrors
where you play your mouth and the echoes.
There's a death for piano
that paints the boys in blue. There are beggars on the roofs, and there are fresh garlands of weeping.

Oh, ay, ay!
Take this waltz that dies in my arms.

Because I love you, I love you, my love, in the attic where the children play, lights of Hungary
by the rumors of the warm afternoon,
watching sheep and snow lilies
by the dark silence of your forehead.

Oh, ay, ay, ay!
Take this waltz, this waltz of "I love you always".

Leonard Cohen's speech on the occasion of the Prince of Wales Award (1929-30), FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA

Asturias de las Letras 2011:

"Poetry comes from a place that nobody controls, that nobody conquers. So I feel like a charlatan accepting a prize for an activity that I do not control. That is, if I knew where the good songs come from, I would go there more often. "

" While I was packing, I grabbed my guitar. I have a Conde guitar that is made in the great workshop of Gravina 7 street, in Spain. It is an instrument that I acquired more than 40 years ago. I took it out of the box, raised it, and it was as if it were full of helium, it was very light. And I put it to my face, I looked closely at the rosette, so beautifully designed, and sucked the fragrance of living wood. You know that wood never dies. And I smelled the fragrance of cedar, as fresh as it was the first day, when I bought it. And a voice seemed to say to me: "You are an old man and you have not thanked, you have not returned your gratitude to the land from which this fragrance arose." So I come here today, tonight, to thank the land and the soul of this people who have given me so much. Because I know that a man is not an identity card and a country is not just the rating of his debt. "

" I can say that when I was young, sought a voice in me, I studied English poets and I knew his work well and copied their styles, but I could not find my voice. Only when I read, although translated, the works of Federico García Lorca, I understood that I had a voice. Not that he copied his voice, I would not dare do that. But he gave me permission to find a voice, to locate a voice, that is, to locate the self, a self that is not completely finished, that fights for its very existence. "

"He came back the next day, put my hands on the guitar, put it on my lap, properly, and started again with those six chords - a six-chord progression on which many flamenco songs. I did a little better that day. On the third day the thing, in some way, improved [...] The next day it did not come, it did not come. I had the number of the pension I was staying in Montreal. I called on the phone to see why he had not come to the appointment and told me that he had killed himself, that he had committed suicide. "

counted in public. Those six chords, that pattern of guitar sound have been the basis of all my songs and all my music. And now you can begin to understand the dimensions of my gratitude to this country. All that they have found good in my work, in my work, comes from this place. All that you have found good in my songs and in my poetry is inspired by this earth. And, therefore, I greatly thank you for this warm hospitality you have shown to my work, because it is really yours, and you have allowed me to add my signature at the bottom of the page. "

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