"Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Leonard Cohen's previous album (January 2012)
Momocat
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Re: "Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Postby Momocat » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:43 am

jason wrote:I haven't read all the responses here, so not sure if someone has said the following. It seems like most of the responders are overthinking the simple poetic sensibility of these lyrics.

The song depicts the poet as a conduit, a vessel, a messenger, a prophet of 'God' or the Divine or the Absolute, however you want to call it.

A tube, very basically, is a long hollow cylinder through which air or sound etc can pass. A tube in this context is merely a cylinder between the poet and 'God,' through which 'God' communicates with the poet, who is merely elaborating His message(s)-- the way Moses and other 'chosen' spiritual and artistic messengers throughout the ages have elaborated it, without much free will in the matter.

From the get-go, many of Leonard Cohen's songs are about this fateful calling from the Divine. You Know Who I Am, Story of Isaac, If It Be Your Will, etc etc
Nearly. I think its his Alter Ego or better his soul who is singing. And the brief elaboration of a tube is the physical body with the mind. The soul as the divine light. She trys to make him certain, without burden, without sorrow and the body - Leonard - has to say, what the soul told him. You shouldn´t forget, Leonard Cohen is a very spiritually man.
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Re: "Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Postby newyork » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:38 pm

A tube: picture a toothpaste tube standing straight up. Looks like a person with the cap in place of the head. A toothpaste tube is very malleable and can be pushed or squished into any shape the owner wants. Well, "Leonard," as a human being, is just such a malleable "elaboration of a tube" in regard to the words that are supposed to come out of him.
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Re: "Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Postby newyork » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:42 pm

I forgot to add:

the prior word "brief" in "brief elaboration of a tube" refers to the brief life of the human elaboration which is "Leonard."
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Re: "Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Postby IMM » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:24 am

I knew someone in the life sciences once, who had some background in the anatomy of animals (such as chordates and below) who used to muse that Life is just a bunch of tubes.
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Re: "Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Postby Violet » Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:58 pm

IMM wrote:I knew someone in the life sciences once, who had some background in the anatomy of animals (such as chordates and below) who used to muse that Life is just a bunch of tubes.
.. you know, after all my elaborate protestations on this, maybe you're right. Maybe that is what Leonard's getting at..

.. life as "just a bunch of tubes."

somehow I like that humble sort of idea now.

[although it took me a while to get there]
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Re: "Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Postby daka » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:21 am

Forgive me if someone in this thread has already given my interpretation. (I had a quick look but it is a long thread and I may have missed it)

I thought he said "tune" at first like many people. Then I listened a few times and heard "tube".

I have the advantage of being a Buddhist and I think since Leonard has been a Buddhist for around nearly forty years he may have had the intention to use this Buddhist analogy. Buddhists believe that we live, die, live, die. live, die .... until we become liberated or enlightened. I think that the tube he is referring to may be this ever-extending tube of rebirths, the tube being an analogy for multiple rebirths.

Well, the analogy of multiple rebirths worked for me, right or wrong, and I have enjoyed this poetry. I see Buddhist analogies sprinkled generously in Leonard's lyrics. ClosingTime is an analogy for samsara (the endless frustrating and futile search for wordly happiness).
Ballad of the absent Mare / a re-presentation of a Zen Buddhist fable describing the nature of the mind
Anthem / an analysis of the nature of reality (references to emptiness/the void)
Thousand Kisses Deep / nature of samsara (the endless frustrating and futile search for wordly happiness).

Love itself was gone (Youtube a Zen monk's analysis of this song) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSv5ELuujjs He speaks about Leonard's 10 new songs and this song in particular...that album was dedicated to Leonard's teacher in Mount Baldy, Roshi)...The song is a representation of a talk given by his teacher and can be understood through subjective poetic interpretation or through more complex study of his analogies with a view to understanding Buddhist view, philosophy etc. The actual source or meaning of Leonard's songs is not easy, not obvious; watching this video may convince you of this; I am still trying to wrap my mind around some of the complexities and I have studied Buddhism for years and meditated for years.

Here it is... is one of my favorite songs because it is so deeply meaningful when considered from a Buddhist perspective; I see the song as a definitive description of how pathetic, sad , empty and frightening our ordinary pursuits can be when we are limited to them and limited by them.

Other songs of course have Buddhist themes embedded.

If the song is enjoyable and meaningful to you Leonard will be delighted. If you really want to know some of the meanings I believe this requires some investigation into Buddhist view, intention etc.

Sean
If you become the ocean you will not become seasick....Jikan (aka Leonard Cohen)

It's comin' from the feel that this ain't exactly real, or it's real, but it ain't exactly there! . Jikan
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Re: "Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Postby daka » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:44 pm

An afterthought to my interpretation

I was thinking today that it was interesting to ponder why Leonard used "elaboration of a tube" instead of elaboration of a string or a thread or elaboration of a chain. A sequence of elaborations of any other long object would work too. I think that tube suggests an important theme in Buddhism because it contains empty space. I believe this signifies "emptiness" or "the void", the absence of inherent existence, the absence of true existence, the absence of existence from the side of the object. This is the most profound of Buddha's teachings and as I said above the theme is sprinkled generously through Leonard's lyrics. To expand on this, when one looks for the person that one thinks one is, one finds that this is difficult (actually impossible) and this experience which can be had by anyone perhaps explains the "tube" analogy. You don't even need Buddhist view to appreciate the interpretation (apart from past and future lives), just common ordinary logic and experience). Life after life the shell of a person manifests but the actual person that we think exists, that appears to our minds, is imputed, fabricated, it is illusory, everchanging.

sean
If you become the ocean you will not become seasick....Jikan (aka Leonard Cohen)

It's comin' from the feel that this ain't exactly real, or it's real, but it ain't exactly there! . Jikan
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Re: "Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Postby MarieJolie » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:10 pm

Hi Cohenites of the Forum, as you can see from the posts I am a very new entry….
Have been often visiting this Forum since one year, when I started translating Cohen’s lyrics for an Italian amateur site, which has the ambition to make them available, as a cultural fact, to as many people as possible. At first I agreed, Cohen’s lyrics are so intriguing! Once I got deeper into the matter I started to think that Cohen’s lyrics shouldn’t have to be translated but only studied and interpreted in their original language, as no translation will ever match his poetry. Despite of my thought, in that same time many of the site’s visitors started to highly appreciate this work and to ask for more translations: this is why, after Old Ideas, we are going to translate his previous works of art, and this is also why I decided to step into the Forum, hoping you’ll let me in with my limited knowledge of the Poet.
Up to now I have found so many answers to my questions here… nevertheless I have an unsolved matter, which was partly answered when we neatly saw him spelling “tube” in “Going Home” at Verona concert.
“Though he knows he’s really nothing/but the brief elaboration of a tube” might therefore mean that he is referring to a tube intended as a way of connection between two parts, might be a man and an Entity, or instead that the “second” Leonard is the “cathodic” representation of the (inner, true) ”first” Leonard, the one that wore the costume and is eventually going to get rid of it? And how many “tubes” do we find in everyday’s life nowadays (including the virtual Youtube, which is a sum of “brief elaborations”)? In the meantime I am correcting our (wrong) lyrics on the website, we had left “tune” as it seemed more logical and, most of all, it was easier to translate :) :)
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Re: "Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Postby Steven » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:08 pm

Hi MarieJolie,

Welcome to the forum. Both of your interpretations sound reasonable. Currently, I believe that
Leonard Cohen likely created the "tube" inclusive lyric out of being raised in an age when vacuum tubes were
common. They were known to the general public in a big way by their use in common things such as television
sets and radios. Televisions and radios are facilitators of communication, analogous to spiritual beliefs
that see people as facilitators of God's spirit/will; people's lives are brief, in terms of the time (geological and
otherwise) that they have on earth. Also, the ambiguity/confusion with the sound of "tube" in the recording
furthers people's take that the lyric was "tune." And, tune works concurrently with tube -- people's lives
are an expression of God's purpose as they carry forth a metaphorical lyric, song, or tune, with God being the
songwriter (for people who accept this faith based belief).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_tube
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Re: "elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions

Postby B4real » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:43 am

B4real wrote:I stumbled across this while looking for songs for my violin practice. :razz:
It's a quote by Leonard when he was interviewed in the earlier years.
It seems to relate to what is being said:
Image
MarieJolie, In case you haven't seen it, I thought my previous post might also help your understanding of that line as it is straight from "the source" eg Leonard himself.
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal
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Re: "elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions

Postby MarieJolie » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:00 am

B4real wrote:
B4real wrote:I stumbled across this while looking for songs for my violin practice. :razz:
It's a quote by Leonard when he was interviewed in the earlier years.
It seems to relate to what is being said:
Image
MaireJolie, In case you haven't seen it, I thought my previous post might also help your understanding of that line as it is straight from "the source" eg Leonard himself.
All my thanks for this further info, B4real, I feel like I'm being taken by hand to discover Cohen's world...
Reading his words feels like having first hand information!
See you soon!
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Re: "Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Postby jerry » Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:15 am

I was just watching a recent video of Going Home and I swear that Leonard says TUNE. I went back several times and replayed it with the volume on my speakers up high and my ear close to the speaker.
Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
Leonard Cohen
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Re: "Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Postby MarieJolie » Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:48 am

Most likely he alternates saying both "tube" or "tune" to give us a chance to debate on it :D ;-) couldn't it be?
IMO each one of his performances is unique and unrepeatable.... so we are all right and we are all wrong, and
he only knows what he meant each time..... in Verona we heard tube as far as Going Home is concerned, while
at the end of Famous Blue Raincoat he "signed" the letter "a friend" instead of "L. Cohen", this is also highly
intriguing... who is writing the letter, the betrayed or the betrayer?
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Re: "Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Postby Steven » Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:11 am

Hi MarieJolie,

Your post is very interesting. Listened to YouTube videos to hear what you reported on with regards to "tube"
in "Going Home" and the signer of the letter in "Famous Blue Raincoat" at the Verona concert. Absolutely yes to
the word being "tube" in the performance (to my ears also) and, of course, to the change in the signature line in "Famous Blue Raincoat." Good listening catches, MarieJolie.

The change in "Famous Blue Raincoat" adds a touch more emphasis, to me, that a friend (even one as close as to be called "my brother" in the song) can be both friend and enemy. The change may make the song a bit more potent and accessible to people by closing with a reference of relationship rather than to an individual. I don't know that it does. Maybe L.C. thought it might. Perhaps he was seeking an elegant variation to the traditional "L. Cohen." Perhaps the change was out of humbleness.
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Re: "Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Postby B4real » Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:19 pm

MarieJolie wrote: All my thanks for this further info, B4real, I feel like I'm being taken by hand to discover Cohen's world...
Reading his words feels like having first hand information!
See you soon!
My pleasure Marie 8)
And I just thought you might like to look at couple of old links about Famous Blue Raincoat:

Famous Blue Raincoat – what is it about?
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2345&hilit=famous+blue+raincoat
(the last post refers to the signature)

Famous Blue Raincoat
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=572&hilit=famous+blue+raincoat

........ and Steven, that's a sound assessment.
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal

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