the song, "Dear Heather" in relation to Milosz

Leonard Cohen's recent albums - share your views with others!
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grant
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the song, "Dear Heather" in relation to Milosz

Post by grant » Fri Dec 10, 2004 8:43 am

One of my literature professors has been close friends with Cohen for a few years now and was also had a very intimate friendship with Czeslaw Milosz before his passing this past September.

I was giving Dear Heather a very attentive listening the other day and was immediately reminded of Milosz's poem "Esse" (which can be found at http://nobelprize.org/literature/laurea ... s-2-e.html). The content and intent of the two poems are undeniably intertwined and I wonder if Cohen had written this in part as a response to "Esse" or as a way to take its concept elsewhere, compressing it and letting himself get lost in the moment described in what I would consider to be a manner even more elegant and clever than Milosz.[/url]
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lizzytysh
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Post by lizzytysh » Fri Dec 10, 2004 5:01 pm

Ecstatic beauty, Grant. Thanks for sharing that sensual, all-encompassing attempt to secure the fleeting moments. That insatiable desire to possess seems forever thwarted. I haven't so directly paralleled the two, as you have, but then I've had only a first read of it [whilst at work :? ].
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lizzytysh
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Post by lizzytysh » Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:53 pm

So, am I the only one here who finds the title song, "Dear Heather" sensuous, sensual, erotic? The rather slow, sexy rhythm and melody ~ the female 'whispering' and the repetitions and spellings, with a still-slow, but building, intensity through the vocals and increased speed of spelling and singing. Or, is it just me?

~ Lizzy
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margaret
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Post by margaret » Wed Dec 15, 2004 11:52 pm

Reading the poem Esse, I can see similarities with the song "Dear Heather". The singer is almost speechless at the vision of beauty he sees which is unattainable. It reminds me of the interview with Stina in 2001 when they talked of him not having a particular woman in his life. He talked of not really minding as he can still see and appreciate beauty all around, even if not in a more personal intimate sense. It seems the song embodies this idea. Or then again, maybe not :?
grant
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Post by grant » Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:51 am

There are undoubtedly distinct differences in the intent of both poems. Milosz hones his sights in on what it is to 'be' in the moment; Cohen revels in the moment. Milosz wants it again, wants to cling to it, wants to understand it; Cohen encompasses himself with it, his polite manner a facade to shroud his passion.

I think to translate what Milosz introduces in 'Esse' into song would be a nearly impossible task. Cohen, in a mere five lines, I would argue succeeds. He also takes the words from poetry to song in an immensely clever and elegant way. To let the lines melt and deteriorate as the song progresses (in a manner that is perfect for the medium of song--and unexpected) was a stroke of genius and one that emphasizes the intensity and importance of that moment past, when Heather casually walked by him with a drink in her hand. The details he chooses to emphasize are quite brilliant too.

There's a lot packed into that song. More than I am probably capable of dissecting.
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Post by tomsakic » Thu Dec 16, 2004 2:15 pm

lizzytysh wrote:So, am I the only one here who finds the title song, "Dear Heather" sensuous, sensual, erotic? The rather slow, sexy rhythm and melody ~ the female 'whispering' and the repetitions and spellings, with a still-slow, but building, intensity through the vocals and increased speed of spelling and singing. Or, is it just me?
It's all around Ten New Songs and Dear Heather. Recently I talked to one electronic-freak who listens very strange music like Autechre etc, and he said that Cohen on TNS uses unconciously something like "very porno music arrangements" :!: Now, do I like this description :?
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tomsakic
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Post by tomsakic » Thu Dec 16, 2004 2:22 pm

margaret wrote:Reading the poem Esse, I can see similarities with the song "Dear Heather". The singer is almost speechless at the vision of beauty he sees which is unattainable.
That's true, but how far can we go? I guess we will not look for influence or connection here.
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Post by Midnight » Thu Dec 16, 2004 3:59 pm

I cannot agree. "Dear Heather" is a nursery rhyme compared to "Esse." I only wish I knew Polish so I could get the full effect of Milosz's poetry (which in translation is incredible).
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Post by Midnight » Thu Dec 16, 2004 4:01 pm

I cannot agree. Compared to "Esse" DH is a nursery rhyme and a bad one at that. I only wish I knew Polish so I could get the full effect of Milosz's poetry (which in translation is incredible).
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