About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Debate on Leonard Cohen's poetry (and novels), both published and unpublished. Song lyrics may also be discussed here.
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LY24
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About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Postby LY24 » Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:00 am

hello!
I have a question about《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》,from《Let Us Compare Mythologies 》。

BESIDE THE SHEPHERD
在牧羊人身旁

Beside the shepherd dreams the beast
of laying down with lions.
The youth puts away his singing reed
And strokes the consecrated flesh.
在牧羊人身旁梦见
与雄狮躺下的牲畜
年轻人收好他歌唱的牧笛
抚摸那献给神的肉体。

Glory,Glory,shouts the grass,
Shouts the brick,as from the cliff
The gorgeous fallen sun
Rolls slowly on the promised city.
荣耀,荣耀,牧草呼喊道,
砖块呼喊道,自悬崖而来
灿然的落日
在应许之城上空缓缓地滚动。

Naked running through the mansion
The boy with news of the messiah
Forgets the message for his father,
Enjoying the marble against his feet.
赤裸地奔跑穿过宅邸
男孩带着弥赛亚的消息
忘记带给他父亲的讯息,
享受着脚触及石面的快感。

Well finally it has happened,
Imagines someone in another house,
Staring one more minute out his window
Before waking up his wife.
好啦!终于它出现了,
想象着某个人在另个房子,
从他的窗口再凝视了片刻
在他唤醒妻子之前。


How Marble should be understand as a marble(stone)or marble(toy)? I am not sure。
Last edited by LY24 on Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Postby Jean Fournell » Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:14 pm

Marble understood as "stone" would mean that the floor of the mansion is covered with marble tiles. The boy's naked feet, enjoying this smooth and cool surface, make him forget the message.

Marble understood as "toy" that is, as a little ball with a diameter of one centimetre (or two, or three) would mean that the boy is shoving this tiny ball in front of himself first with one foot, then with the other foot (since it is "feet"), like a soccer player, all while he is "running through the mansion". And this (pretty difficult) game makes him forget the message.

In this second (rather improbable) hypothesis Where does the "marble" ball come from? And what is its role in the context? , I would expect the poet to give us one or several clues that this indeed is the required reading. Something like kicking instead of "running", and/or between his feet instead of "against his feet"...

All the more so as this poem is carefully wrought in order to present simple language the difficulty lies in the interpretation(s), not in the understanding of words and syntax. And the "marble" understood as floor tiles that is, as being part of the (luxurious) mansion is much simpler than some little glass ball appearing out of nowhere.

So the first hypothesis, to my eyes, is the only one to be retained for the purpose of translation into languages where no confusion is possible.

(I hope the native English speakers will correct me if I am mistaken.)
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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Re: About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Postby LY24 » Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:30 am

:) Thank you so much for give me so many detailed explanation.

Marble understood as ‘tile’ is very reasonable;Yesterday ,my friend and I discussed for a long time about the understanding of the word,I understand is wrong,I translated this sentence for “a boy stand on tiptoe to appreciate marble”.And he understood as “glass ball ”.

oh!Is this 'brick' is a hint?

I didn't really understand this poem.Thank you Jean Fournell!

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Re: About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Postby Jean Fournell » Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:25 am

You are welcome, LY24.

And no, I don't think that "brick" is a hint for the marble question.

I think it's just one element in a game of opposites at play in this poem:

The shepherd, a peaceful guardian of sheep, versus the beast, a dangerous wild animal;
the beast versus the lions (dreaming of peaceful coexistence): the beast re-interpreted as a lamb
(normally it's "a wolf in sheep's clothing", versus here: a sheep in wolf's clothing);
the singing reed: a flute, versus the youth's penis;
stroking himself, versus stroking the other the other being the "beast";
consecrated flesh: the lamb to be delivered for ritual sacrifice, versus killing for self-defence or for food or because the animal is mortally injured or sick;
therefore: the shepherd re-interpreted as the lamb's real enemy.

The grass, soft, versus the brick, hard;
the brick, a man-made stone, versus the cliff, natural stone;
the sun, being pulled down by earth's gravity, versus the real astronomical conditions;
the shouting "Glory", versus the silent sun;
the "gorgeous" here-and-now, versus the "promised" future;
the city, many bricks, versus the one brick shouting "Glory";
the city, versus the pastoral scene of the first stanza.

The boy, versus the messiah the messiah being a king for the Jews, versus being the saviour of humankind for the Christians;
the boy, versus the father;
the mansion as a temple: the father re-interpreted as God, versus the boy as Jesus when he was young, hence for Christians: the boy as God-the-Son;
the news, versus the message;
both the news and the message, versus direct reality;
the boy running naked in the temple: Jesus as a real human child, versus a rather shocking feature for the two younger monotheisms (Christianism and Islam), versus less shocking for the two older monotheisms (Zoroastrianism and Judaism), versus not shocking at all for Greek polytheism;
the hard and cold reality of the marble (the law), versus the spiritual message (which even Jesus forgets);
the mansion, versus the city of the second stanza;
the marble of the temple, versus the bricks of the city;
brick, an object made by compacting lumps of clay, versus marble objects made of what remains when enough marble has been removed at the right places (addition versus subtraction), (applies to statues, to tiles, and also to toy-marbles when they are made of real marble, versus when they are made of glass or clay).

Another house, versus the mansion of the third stanza.
What is "it" which is being imagined? Salvation through Jesus forgetting the message, versus salvation through Jesus being forsaken by God?
Illusion, versus "reality" which itself is merely poetic fiction;
staring out the window, versus both news and message being brought into the mansion;
one full minute staring through the window glass, versus the boy's feet in brief contact "against" the marble floor;
waking up his wife: "it" as an erection, which he had long given up hoping would ever happen to him again real versus imagined , versus "it" as the morning, time to get up and stop imagining things...

Now these are only a few indications, of course but maybe they can help you to make more of the poem.

(I'm sorry, but I don't know any Chinese, so I can't comment on your translation.)
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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Re: About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Postby LY24 » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:24 am

You are welcome, LY24.
不用谢,LY24.

And no, I don't think that "brick" is a hint for the marble question.
不,我不认为“brick”是对大理石问题的暗示。

I think it's just one element in a game of opposites at play in this poem:
我认为这仅仅是在这首诗里是一个对应的游戏组成:

The shepherd, a peaceful guardian of sheep, versus the beast, a dangerous wild animal;
the beast versus the lions (dreaming of peaceful coexistence): the beast re-interpreted as a lamb
(normally it's "a wolf in sheep's clothing", versus here: a sheep in wolf's clothing);
the singing reed: a flute, versus the youth's penis;
stroking himself, versus stroking the other — the other being the "beast";
consecrated flesh: the lamb to be delivered for ritual sacrifice, versus killing for self-defence or for food or because the animal is mortally injured or sick;
therefore: the shepherd re-interpreted as the lamb's real enemy.
牧羊人,是一个羊的和平守护者,对应野兽,一个危险的野生动物;
野兽对应雄狮(梦想和平地共存):野兽重新诠释为一头小羊
(一般来说它是“披着羊皮的狼”,对应这里:一头羊穿着狼皮);
歌唱的牧笛:一个长笛,对应年轻人的阴茎;
抚摸自己,对应抚摸其它的——例如其它的“野兽”;
献给神的肉体:羊羔被作为宗教仪式的祭品被奉献,对应因自卫为死或为食物而死或是因为动物深受重伤或疾病而被杀;
所以牧羊人重新诠释为羊羔真正的敌人。

The grass, soft, versus the brick, hard;
the brick, a man-made stone, versus the cliff, natural stone;
the sun, being pulled down by earth's gravity, versus the real astronomical conditions;
the shouting "Glory", versus the silent sun;
the "gorgeous" here-and-now, versus the "promised" future;
the city, many bricks, versus the one brick shouting "Glory";
the city, versus the pastoral scene of the first stanza.
野草柔软对应砖块坚硬;
砖块—人类制作的石头,对应悬崖,自然的石头。
太阳,因地球引力而被拉下来,对应现实众多的状态;
呼喊“荣耀”,对应着沉默的太阳;
那此时此地的“灿烂的”对应那被允诺的未来;
城市对应牧人在第一节的场景。

The boy, versus the messiah — the messiah being a king for the Jews, versus being the saviour of humankind for the Christians;
男孩对应救世主耶稣——耶稣为了犹太人而被杀害,对应着基督教的人类的救世主;
the boy, versus the father;
男孩,对应父亲;
the mansion as a temple: the father re-interpreted as God, versus the boy as Jesus when he was young, hence for Christians: the boy as God-the-Son;
住宅和教堂一样:父亲可以重新诠释为上帝,对应作为耶稣的男孩当他还是个年轻人的时候,因此对于基督徒来说,男孩就是上帝之子;
the news, versus the message;
both the news and the message, versus direct reality;
消息对应讯息;
消息和讯息两者都对应直接的现实;
the boy running naked in the temple: Jesus as a real human child, versus a rather shocking feature for the two younger monotheisms (Christianism and Islam), versus less shocking for the two older monotheisms (Zoroastrianism and Judaism), versus not shocking at all for Greek polytheism;
男孩赤裸地奔跑在教堂;耶稣作为一个真实的人类之子对应着关于两个初期一神教有点令人震惊的形象 (基督教和伊斯兰教),对应不那么震惊的两个古老的一神教(琐罗亚斯德教和犹太教),对应并未震惊所有希腊的多神教。

the hard and cold reality of the marble (the law), versus the spiritual message (which even Jesus forgets);
坚硬冰冷的大理石现实(律法),对应神圣的讯息(耶稣曾忘记的);
the mansion, versus the city of the second stanza;
宅邸对应第二节的城市;
the marble of the temple, versus the bricks of the city;
教堂的大理石对应城市的砖块;
brick, an object made by compacting lumps of clay, versus marble objects made of what remains when enough marble has been removed at the right places (addition versus subtraction), (applies to statues, to tiles, and also to toy-marbles — when they are made of real marble, versus when they are made of glass or clay).
砖块,一个被紧密弄成一团的泥土制作的物体,对应着由足够多的大理石在对的地方被剔除而留下的部分(增加对应减少)。

Another house, versus the mansion of the third stanza.
另一个房子对应第三节的宅邸。
What is "it" which is being imagined? Salvation through Jesus forgetting the message, versus salvation through Jesus being forsaken by God?
这个“它”正想象着什么呢?救世通过耶稣忘记的讯息对应救世通过耶稣被上帝所抛弃?
Illusion, versus "reality" — which itself is merely poetic fiction;
幻想与现实对应——这本身仅仅是诗意的虚构故事吗;
staring out the window, versus both news and message being brought into the mansion;
one full minute staring through the window glass, versus the boy's feet in brief contact "against" the marble floor;
凝视着窗外对应着信息和讯息被带进宅邸;
waking up his wife: "it" as an erection, which he had long given up hoping would ever happen to him again — real versus imagined —, versus "it" as the morning, time to get up and stop imagining things...
叫醒他的妻子:“它”可当作勃起,他早就放弃希望会再次降临在他身上——现实与想象对应——对应“它”可作为早晨,到时间该起床了停止所梦想的事物。

Now these are only a few indications, of course — but maybe they can help you to make more of the poem.
这些仅是一些暗示,当然可能它们能帮忙你作出更多的诗。

(I'm sorry, but I don't know any Chinese, so I can't comment on your translation.)
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Re: About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Postby LY24 » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:50 am

Jean Fournell:
I translate all your messages to understand what you mean.
You always mention the use of the corresponding——“versus ”,I have many don't understand what you said,as you said:the singing reed: a flute, versus the youth's penis;and as you said “waking up his wife: it as an erection.”
I can't imagine to have this kind of hint. :D
What is "it"?is morning or others?if it is erection,Can pleasure bring an erection?
oh my god!I can only a word a word to understand,I can't imagine there are so many inner meaning.
oh!Cohen !What do you want to say ?I tried.

:D Thank you very much for you wrote so many annotations!love you! :)
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Re: About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Postby Jean Fournell » Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:44 am

LY24, I'm not quite sure that my post in Chinese translation will be helpful to many readers on this forum... ;-)

As for your questions:

Pastoral scenery, in traditional western imagery, is a commonplace for love, often romantic love. Here, with the shepherd's "singing reed" and the "consecrated flesh", it is obviously about sex.

In this view, the "beast" would seem to be an experienced woman, possibly a prostitute, and for the shepherd it might well be the first time.
Re-interpreted as a lamb to be slaughtered, the "beast" would, on the contrary, be an innocent girl for whom it is the first time, seduced by an experienced man.
And can we exclude the hypothesis that he is a customer in a brothel?

The man waking up his wife: now why would he do that? The context shows no emergency.
I can see only two possibilities: either in order to make love, or in order to start the day.

In the light of the opposites at play, however, after husband and wife in the fourth stanza, both of them sexually experienced, the couple of the first stanza would now have to be re-interpreted: both of them innocent.

"Beside the shepherd" (that is, beside our adult point of view) would then mean that those two youngsters are approaching their first making love with awe and with respect.

But this is only some speculation of mine. In order for me to "compare mythologies", I would first have to understand them. And I don't. I just have a few basic notions here or there. That's why in fact this poem is far too difficult for me.

Now if you want a glimpse of Leonard Cohen at his work, you might like to have a look at some clearly identifiable pre-existing material:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Bulls
https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%8D%81 ... B%E5%9C%96
http://terebess.hu/english/oxherding.html
and at the two songs which he based on that material:
"Ballad Of The Absent Mare" and the gender-reversed "Ballad Of A Runaway Horse"...
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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Re: About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Postby LY24 » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:23 am

I have to say, these explain completely overturned my understanding.
The bull in Kuòān Shīyuǎn's 《Ten Bulls》represents the everyone all have Buddha mind,A process of enlightenment.《Ballad Of The Absent Mare》,this song is imitating it.

What's Cohen's motive in this?to write this poem.Maybe this is one of the most critical problem.
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Re: About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Postby Jean Fournell » Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:23 pm

Yes, I think that you are asking an important question here indeed.

Maybe things will become easier if you take into consideration that Leonard Cohen is a hereditary Jewish priest. That is the meaning of his name, Cohen and even though he is not directing a temple or a synagogue, for a man like him this is a serious matter.

Quite logically he studied other religions and mythologies, and also strange things like hypnotism and drugs and pseudo-religious sects: not in order to become their victim, but in order to learn their mechanisms and how to avoid being trapped.

And he did not find the ox-herding pictures in some old book and thought they were a nice little story for a song, but he learned them from his Rinzaï zen teacher, Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi (1907-2014) and the "Absent Mare" reflects his own practical experience.

Later, Kyozan Joshu Sasaki formally ordained this Jewish priest a Zen monk, too, having asked him to officially preside over his (Roshi's) funeral.

Remembering that Leonard Cohen is both a monotheist priest and a zen monk helps me understand many things not everything he writes is "teaching", but a tremendous lot is.

(For my part, I'm an atheist, and of the Soto school. Peasant zen. No need to believe in God, nor in koans and satori, nor in enlightenment that makes it all much easier. Sometimes I have the impression that even the legs hurt less during zazen ;-) .)
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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Re: About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Postby LY24 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:02 am

Jean Fournell:

Thank you again!You let me realize a very important information why did he go to study different religions.you said:in order to learn their mechanisms and how to avoid being trapped. it is very insightful!

I have always been curious about What is in his heart to let him upset.
This book《I'm Your Man:The Life of Leonard Cohen》,By Sylvie Simmons,She wrote very fine!but there is no focus on inner growth trajectory,This is more important for his readers.
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Re: About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Postby Jean Fournell » Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:57 pm

For one or the other among her readers, yes, you are probably right. But for all of them? I'm not sure…

And then, who are those who are interested in somebody else's spiritual evolution?
Parents, teachers, yes; people who are close to us when we are in a crisis, people who are on a path similar to our own path, yes but who else?

Before the trajectory, mountains are mountains and waters are waters.
During the trajectory, mountains are not mountains and waters are not waters.
After the trajectory, mountains really are mountains and waters really are waters.


Before:
"I met a man who lost his mind
in some lost place I had to find,
follow me the wise man said,
but he walked behind."

After:
"Never mind
Never mind
I live the life
I left behind
There’s truth that lives
And truth that dies
I don’t know which
So never mind"

There are 47 years of Leonard Cohen's "trajectory" between this Before and this After.

Before: the time when the narrator is lucky enough to find a teacher who knows that he must walk behind.

After: the time when the narrator is lucky enough to realise that our "con-sciousness" of our here-and-now is always late, that our "simultaneous knowledge" always lags behind our reality ("walks behind").
("con-" is derived from the Latin word "cum", which means "with")
Because our cognitive process needs time. Not much perhaps, but our consciousness necessarily lives the life we already left behind.
There are things which get lost because of this consciousness-lag, and which we don't know about.
And it's not a problem: never mind.

This Before and this After are obvious.
And what about those of us who want to know what happens in between, during the trajectory?
Well, I guess they must follow their own path, and then have a look at the path of other people when their own mountains are not mountains and their own waters are not waters. And have a look again when their own mountains really are mountains and their own waters really are waters.
Then maybe they'll understand. Otherwise, what would be the point?

(Leonard Cohen has hidden so much truth in his work that quite probably one or the other seed will indeed survive and grow and prosper, in one or the other heart…)

(But I'm afraid that we are slipping more and more from "Beside the Shepherd" to "beside the topic", into what might rather be called "Theology of Leonard Cohen" a topic which already exists:
http://leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic. ... edb7e66087)
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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Re: About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Postby LY24 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:07 am

Jean Fournell:

I am very ashamed for my understanding,And my broken English.
Everyone lost in life,But not by a man in order to find the answer.
'they must follow their own path' is right!I just want to explore the internal essence,For example what influence him,I admire the friendship between he and Irving Layton.

‘I think I became friends with Irving Layton. . . and if he had exercised that master-student relationship. . . if Irving did in some secret part of his mind feel that he was giving me instruction, he did it in a most subtle and beautiful way. He did it as a friend, he never made me feel that I was sitting at his feet. '
----Neurotic Affiliations: Klein, Layton, Cohen, and the Properties of Influence,by Michael Q. Abraham

I was very moved by seeing here.Because this kind of need you can be understood as i need a dialogue of friends,like cohen said:

“In my room
the music is turning
because I expect a friend. ”
——《It Is Late Afternoon》,《The Spice Box of Earth》

When you countless times was deeply moved by the man,so you may ask why and want to know more!This Is Me!
Jean Fournell,Thank you very much!For the place where I can't understand, only be shelved.
That's a good time here.Share a Chinese poem for you.

Written on the Wall at West Forest Temple
——su shi (Song Dynasty)

It's a range viewed in face and peaks viewed from the side,
Assuming different shapes viewed from far and wide.
Of mountain Lu we cannot make out the true face,
For we are lost in the heart of the very place.

:D
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Re: About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Postby LY24 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:21 am

THANKS Cate ! :D
I have just finished translating the information you provided me.now I am much clear.
Here I share for Jean Fournell :)

BY Dr. Natalia Vesselova

“Beside the Shepherd” starts with a biblical allusion, a reference to the Book of Isaiah: “Beside the shepherd dreams the beast / Of laying down with lions.”【1】
The second quatrain of the poem also alludes to Isaiah: “Glory, Glory, shouts the grass.”
This personification recalls Isaiah’s phrase “All flesh is grass” (40:6).[2] Another quotation from the Prophet reads, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the Word of our God stands for ever” (Isaiah 40:8); [3]it points to the transitory nature of human beings as opposed to God’s word. What happens in Cohen’s poem contradicts Isaiah, as a physical sensation momentarily experienced by flesh overcomes the Word:

Naked running through the mansion
The boy with the news of the Messiah
Forgets the message for his father,
Enjoying the marble against his feet.

“The message” appears fragile, and the poem (as well as the book) ends with a man making an assumption that the Messiah has come: “Well finally it has happened, / Imagines someone in another house.” The coming of the Messiah, the teleological event of Judaism awaited by religious Jews, is represented in the poem as an accomplished fact of an unspecified recent past which occurs without being recognized; the message is either forgotten or imagined.



【1】“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them
”(Isaiah 11:6).
【2】The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
【3】The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
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Re: About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Postby Jean Fournell » Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:26 am

That's a superb poem, LY24, thanks for sharing!

I'm an old man, too old to learn a language from the start, and I'm at peace with my age but that's the kind of stuff which would be worth reading in the original rather than in translation.

Lu mountain seems to resemble Sainte Victoire mountain (which Paul Cézanne loved to paint). At the end of my working life, when I drove to Marseille from the north in the morning, I saw its range from afar, approaching. On my way back home in the evening, I saw its range from the south, then its western face in the late sunlight. Ever changing. The very other-ness at every moment.

The difficulty of knowing things themselves, not only a kaleidoscope of chance impressions.
How to learn about the world.
The first three lines sum up human science and imagination.
Line 4:
"For we are lost in the heart of the very place":
When the Lu mountain becomes a symbol of the world itself (or God, for Believers), it becomes impossible for us to look at it from the outside. Perfectly clear (logically speaking).

But sometimes this impossibility is hard to understand. How can the world escape our mental grasp?

And sometimes we feel like prisoners, and wish to escape out of the world.

And sometimes we feel lost because we are too small and the World and God are too big:
"You kept right on loving, I went on a fast,
now I am too thin and your love is too vast."

In the absolute, however, that's not a problem:
"The waters are blessed while a shadowy guest
Kindles a light for the lost"

Or, as "The Prophet" by Gibran Khalil Gibran says:
"When you love you should not say, 'God is in my heart', but rather, 'I am in the heart of God'."



Maybe your question is: "How does Leonard Cohen manage to put us into the heart of God?"

In that case my answer is: "He doesn't. It is God who uses Leonard Cohen. It is He who puts us into His heart."

Leonard Cohen says somewhere that if he knew where the good songs come from, he'd go there more often.

And I don't think that Su Shi wrote thousands of poems like the Lu mountain either.

That doesn't explain anything, of course. Let me say: poets do their best (well, many of them do), and sometimes something happens and a good poem is written. I don't think anybody can sit down and say, now I'm going to write a great poem. We simply don't know.

But there is a technical difference between the quoted verses by Isaiah and Leonard Cohen's work (and Su Shi's poem):
Isaiah presents a dream-world. This is not life. Maybe it is not actually dead, but very closely.
Bible, Koran, Bhagavad Gita, that kind of stuff is static for me, I can't get it to ring. And it certainly can't get me to ring.
I don't like to read such texts. They are extremely tiring for me, and they drag on and on, even if it's only a very short passage. A bit like nightmares. Such things can happen, but I only feel right again when it's over.
Exception: if somebody I know were actually suffering in such a nightmare, I would try to help, according to the circumstances.

Leonard Cohen and Su Shi on the contrary present the real world, even in fiction. That stuff is alive. Maybe it needs time to germinate and to grow, but I know straight away that it is worth my going along with it. It is dynamic stuff. It needn't be pleasant: it is true, and that's why it's good.

I read Su Shi's poem once, and then once again to be sure and it has always been there. I am at home there. Su Shi describes exactly the world which I live in. He shows immediately why Paul Cézanne loved to paint Sainte Victoire.

But the reference to Isaiah helps me to throw a new light on "Beside the Shepherd":
"…the word of our God shall stand for ever."
That allows for a third meaning of "marble": the word is carved into marble tablets.

These marble tablets are supposed to stand, and Leonard Cohen lays them at the boy's feet, beneath the brief contact of the feet. In the conflict of "the transitory nature of human beings as opposed to God’s word", Leonard Cohen puts life above the word.

The synthesis of these dialectics would then be that the marble word is the lasting support for transitory life.

However, at the risk of overdoing things, I'd like to go one step further than this synthesis:
"… for ever" implies an infinite continuation of passing time, a pretty unlikely feature. I would rather replace it by "eternally", in the sense of eternity at right angles to passing time, as another dimension. Like the horizontal marble and the vertical boy.



Yesterday I didn't have the time to finish and post this:

Just an afterthought, or call it a trick to twist the discussion back to the topic:

The fact that the ego is necessarily, intrinsically, lagging behind the person's actual here-and-now (and that this is not a problem) is covered in "Beside the Shepherd" by four instances:

one for the three "distant" perceptions: looking out the window (representing seeing and hearing and smelling),
one for the two "contact" perceptions: feet against the marble (representing tactile feeling and tasting),
two for "conceptual" perception: news (fresh concept) and message (old concept). (Versus "dreams" in the first stanza.)

The "window", with Leonard Cohen, symbolises the presence of ineffable alterity (of which we are necessarily separate, otherwise there would be no alterity).
Another indication of this necessary separateness is the "against" between feet and marble (much more powerful than "on").
The boy explicitly enjoys this existence of an illusory ego lagging behind reality, the husband enjoys it implicitly.
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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LY24
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Re: About《BESIDE THE SHEPHERD》

Postby LY24 » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:05 am

hey Jean Fournell! :)
I had a long time to slowly translation which the message of you given.
I like you shared yourself story about your journey.It must be a very good experience :D

first let me talk about the poem.The first quatrain of the verse showed a pity about "the consecrated fles".He was in question the existence of Otherness.And in his mind who doesn't exist."The youth"is Cohen himself.

The three quatrain of the poem I understand for his young period,who is a naughty boy.He grew up in jewish education at an early age.Even he can fantasize himself is the messiah.Of course, this just is my guess.
So Cohen combined with own experience.He showed such an innocence naughtiness child for us.

'Well finally it has happened,
Imagines someone in another house,'

Children finally dream out of an illusion,We can understand as the presence of the messiah.
The messiah is not the god of the great,more like a neighbor for Cohen.

:D I can feel you are older than me.Thank you for your enthusiasm!best wishes for you!

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