Page 1 of 1


Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:18 am
by Mark J
As a realtively seasoned Cohenite, I can safely say that “Treaty” is now among my top 3, dare I say my favourite. What a treat(y). This song has helped me to get through, along with “on the level.” A hell of a year, with addictions and a lost, loved mistress (thank god), 55 lb weight loss (also good) and ongoing challenges. I listened to treaty when I returned to Montreal in November, where I’d lived for 12 years. I was at the top of the mountain, looking down on Leonard’s portrait on the side of that building. I bowed and cried. Leonard got me through this year. Good men sometimes make bad choices. My treaty is intact. It’s a moving, captivating song.

Re: Treaty

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:36 pm
by holydove
Mark, thank you for your post. "Treaty" has been haunting me daily (in a good way), ever since I first heard it in Amsterdam 2016. This song lays down with me every night, like a bedtime prayer; & whenever i hear it, be it in my mind or on CD, it takes me to that extraordinary, indescribable, other-worldly place to which many of Leonard's songs have taken me, & this song is one of the most powerful ones ever; it is so beautiful, moving, profound, etc....there are no words that can do it justice, & I've thought, from the start, that it should have a thread of its own, so thank you for initiating it...

These are a few of the most powerful lines for me:

"I'm so sorry for that ghost I made you be/ only one of us was real & that was me"

And "but born again is born without a skin/ the poison enters into everything"

And from the reprise" "it's over now, the water & the wine/ we were broken then but now we're borderline"

Thanks again, Mark, & I hope things are going better for you now.

Re: Treaty

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:07 am
by B4real
Good to “see” you Rachel! Mark, this is indeed a wonderful song and here's some more info about it.

I’ve just now received the same google alert from Uncut magazine posted recently in News - ... ter-108908
This section below refers to Treaty and the making of it so I thought it wouldn’t go astray here as well –

ANJANI THOMAS: I remember Pat Leonard playing me this amazing track for “Treaty”. It was so beautiful, I cried when I heard it. Pat loved it, I loved it. I looked at Len and he said, “You know what, it’s too beautiful.” He said the music was too obviously moving, almost manipulative. Too emotional, too poignant. Too much! It was distracting him. He wanted to control it, he wanted some edge.

LEONARD: Ironically, that early version is the one that’s on the record. We used to talk about ‘Treaty: The Movie’, as I did no less than 25 versions of “Treaty”. There were some really interesting ones – the last one was so interesting, I think it pushed him back to the first one. In fact, his request for me to do a little string arrangement of it was an homage to how much effort went into the damn song. He said to me that ultimately it was about the line that he didn’t have. There were many variations of the chorus, and until he found what he wanted it to say, we just kept trying it.

Here’s my recent reply relating the above - ... 56#p370852

There has been much discussion about this song on the You Want It Darker thread and here are some of my words back then – ... ty#p364319

Besides those previous words written in 1985 LC wrote some other words in 2006 -

And all the doctors say I’m borderline

I wish there was a treaty we could sign
I do not care who takes this bloody hill
I believe I saw your baby smile at mine
If that don’t make you crazy/nervous, nothing will

I thought I saw your baby smile at mine
You must have seen your baby smile at mine.

And there’s more but I can’t read it :)

Re: Treaty

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:53 pm
by holydove
B4real wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:07 am

LEONARD: .. We used to talk about ‘Treaty: The Movie’, as I did no less than 25 versions of “Treaty”...
Thank you, Bev, & very good to see you too!

Given Patrick Leonard's comments about 'Treaty: The Movie' & the 25 versions, it seems my obsession (& everyone else's obsession) with this song has a basis in the reality of its long & winding genesis! 8) I'm joking, of course; we know that Leonard has spent countless years laboring over many songs, & anyway, obsessions with Leonard's songs need no basis in anything, other than their awesome, incomparable, profound beauty!

And you've probably seen this, but I will bring it here anyway, as I think it is worth contemplating; here is a quote from Leonard, in response to a direct question about Treaty in a questionnaire (it was also posted in & at the bottom, Allan Showalter indicates the source):

"At the beginning and at the very end of the [You Want It Darker] album you mention a “treaty.” What kind of treaty is it exactly?"

"A treaty between your love and mine,
both these loves utterly impenetrable
and unknowable,
one to the other.
A man I studied with said: Love your neighbor? Difficult. How about, Try not to hate your neighbor. Unless the situation is life-threatening, let your lover (and everybody else) off the hook."

Leonard Cohen

Le Dernier Empereur by J.D. Beauvallet and Pierre Siankowski (Les Inrocks: Oct 19, 2016) [from the original English questionnaire forwarded to me from Leonard Cohen]

Re: Treaty

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:39 pm
by B4real
Thanks Rachel,
So appropriate to include what Leonard said about Treaty!

Re: Treaty

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:05 am
by Mark J
“I believe I saw your baby smile at mine
If that don’t make you crazy nothing will”

Wow that one hit me all over. This is it. Every time I see other verses or versions I wish I had access to the thousands of pages Mr. Cohen blackened with verse as he led up to his finished product.

Thanks to all for replying, and thanks for your concerns regarding my challenges. I’m doing ok. Possibly borderline. On paper, I’m doing very well. Cohen and long walks continue to make up the difference.