29+ quotes from Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen

Quotes from Book of Longing

Leonard Cohen ·  240 pages

Rating: (5.7K votes)


“I don't remember
lighting this cigarette
and I don't remember
if I'm here alone
or waiting for someone.”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“You go your way
I'll go your way too”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“... i didn't fall in love of course
it's never up to you
but she was walking back and forth
and i was passing through”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“first of all nothing will happen
and a little later
nothing will happen again”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“How bitter were
the Prozac pills
of the last
few hundred mornings”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“My page was too white
My ink was too thin
The day wouldn't write
What the night pencilled in”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“The sweetest little song:

You go your way
I'll go your way too!”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“You should go
from place to place
recovering the poems
that have been written for you
to which you can affix your signature.
Don't discuss these matters
with anyone.
Retrieve. Retrieve.
When the basket is full
someone will appear
to whom you can present it.”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“Stunned and still not suffering. Swollen with care and anxiety and still not suffering. Useless, old and full of grief, but still not suffering.”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“DEAR DI­ARY
You are greater than the Bible
And the Con­fer­ence of the Birds
And the Up­an­ishads
All put to­geth­er
You are more se­vere
Than the Scrip­tures
And Ham­mura­bi’s Code
More dan­ger­ous than Luther’s pa­per
Nailed to the Cathe­dral door
You are sweet­er
Than the Song of Songs
Might­ier by far
Than the Epic of Gil­gamesh
And braver
Than the Sagas of Ice­land
I bow my head in grat­itude
To the ones who give their lives
To keep the se­cret
The dai­ly se­cret
Un­der lock and key
Dear Di­ary
I mean no dis­re­spect
But you are more sub­lime
Than any Sa­cred Text
Some­times just a list
Of my events
Is holi­er than the Bill of Rights
And more in­tense”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“I know she is coming
I know she will look
And that is the longing
And this is the book.”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“I followed the course
From chaos to art
Desire the horse
Depression the cart”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“My animal howls
My angel's upset
But I'm not allowed
A trace of regret”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“You are right, Sahara. There are no mists, or veils, or distances. But the mist is surrounded by a mist; and the veil is hidden behind a veil; and the distance continually draws away from the distance. That is why there are no mists, or veils, or distances. That is why it is called The Great Distance of Mist and Veils. It is here that The Traveler becomes The Wanderer, and The Wanderer becomes The One Who Is Lost, and The One Who Is Lost becomes The Seeker, and The Seeker becomes The Passionate Lover, and The Passionate Lover becomes The Beggar, and The Beggar becomes The Wretch, and The Wretch becomes The One Who Must Be Sacrificed, and The One Who Must Be Sacrificed becomes The Resurrected One and The Resurrected One becomes The One Who has Transcended The Great Distance of Mist and Veils. Then for a thousand years, or the rest of the afternoon, such a One spins in the Blazing Fire of Changes, embodying all the transformations, one after the other, and then beginning again, and then ending again, 86,000 times a second. Then such a one, if he is a man, is ready to love the woman Sahara; and such a one, if she is a woman, is ready to love the man who can put into song The Great Distance of Mist and Veils. Is it you who are waiting, Sahara, or is it I?”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“a fresh spiderweb
billowing
like a spinnaker
across the open window
and here he is
the little master
sailing by
on a thread of milk
wish me luck
admiral
I haven't finished anything
in a long time”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“I can't make the hills
The system is shot
I'm living on pills
For which I thank G-d
I followed the course
From chaos to art
Desire the horse
Depression the cart
I sailed like a swan
I sank like a rock
But time is long gone
Past my laughing stock
My page was too white
My ink was too thin
The day wouldn't write
What the night pencilled in
My animal howls
My angel's upset
But I'm not allowed
A trace of regret
For someone will use
What I couldn't be
My heart will be hers
Impersonally
She'll step on the path
She'll see what I mean
My will cut in half
And freedom between
For less than a second
Our lives will collide
The endless suspended
The door open wide
Then she will be born
To someone like you
What no one has done
She'll continue to do
I know she is coming
I know she will look
And that is the longing
And this is the book”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“The Remote

I often think about you
when I’m lying alone in
my room with my mouth
open and the remote
lost somewhere in the bed.”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“THERE FOR YOU

When it all went down
And the pain came through
I get it now
I was there for you

Don’t ask me how
I know it’s true
I get it now
I was there for you

I make my plans
Like I always do
But when I look back
I was there for you

I walk the streets
Like I used to do
And I freeze with fear
But I’m there for you

I see my life
In full review
It was never me
It was always you

You sent me here
You sent me there
Breaking things
I can’t repair

Making objects
Out of thoughts
making more
By thinking not

Eating food
And drinking wine
A body that
I thought was mine

Dressed as Arab
Dressed as Jew
O mask of iron
I was there for you

Moods of glory
Moods so foul
The world comes through
A bloody towel

And death is old
But it’s always new
I freeze with fear
And I’m there for you

I see it clear
I always knew
It was never me
I was there for you

I was there for you
My darling one
And by your law
It all was done

Don’t ask me how
I know it’s true
I get it now
I was there for you”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“German puppets
burnt the Jews
Jewish puppets
did not choose
Puppet vultures
eat the dead
Puppet corpses
they are fed
Puppet winds and
puppet waves
Puppet sailors
in their graves
Puppet flower
Puppet stem
Puppet Time
dismantles them
Puppet me and
puppet you
Puppet German
Puppet Jew
Puppet presidents
command
puppet troops to
burn the land
Puppet fire
puppet flames
feed on all the
puppet names
Puppet lovers
in their bliss
turn away from
all of this
Puppet reader
shakes his head
takes his puppet
wife to bed
Puppet night
comes down to say
the epilogue to
puppet day”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“So I must say it quickly;
Whoever is in your life,
those that harm you,
those that help you;
those whom you know
and those whom you do not know --
let them off the hook,
help them off the hook.
Recognize the hook.
You are listening to radio resistance.”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“I sailed like a swan
I sank like a rock
But time is long gone
Past my laughing stock

My page was too white
My ink was too thin
The day wouldn't write
What the night pencilled in

My animal howls
My angel's upset
But I'm not allowed
A trace of regret

For someone will use
What I couldn't be
My heart will be hers
Impersonally

She'll step on the path
She'll see what I mean
My will cut in half
And freedom between

For less than a second
Our lives will collide
The endless suspended
The door open wide

Then she will be born
To someone like you
What no one has done
She'll continue to do

I know she is coming
I know she will look
And that is the longing
And this is the book”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“Dear Reader, please forgive me if I have wasted your time.”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“[si eres / joven / y resulta / que / no / eres / Arthur / Rimbaud / preferiríamos / no saber / nada / de ti”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“The old are kind
The young are hot
Love may be blind
Desire is not”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“This is it

I’m not coming after you

I’m going to lie down for half an hour

This is it

I’m not going down

On your memory

I’m not rubbing my face in it anymore

I’m going to yawn

I’m going to stretch

I’m going to put a knitting needle

Up my nose

And poke out my brain

I don’t want to love you

For the rest of my life

I want your skin

To fall off my skin

I want my clamp

To release your clamp

I don’t want to live

With this tongue hanging out

And another filthy song

In the place

Of my baseball bat

This is it

I’m going to sleep now darling

Don’t try to stop me

I’m going to sleep

I’ll have a smooth face

And I’m going to drool

I’ll be asleep

Whether you love me or not

This is it

The new world order

Of wrinkles and bad breath

It’s not going to be

Like it was before

Eating you

With my eyes closed

Hoping you won’t get up

And go away

It’s going to be something else

Something worse

Something sillier

Something like this

Only shorter”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“THIS ISN’T CHINA

Hold me close
and tell me what the world is like
I don’t want to look outside
I want to depend on your eyes
and your lips
I don’t want to feel anything
but your hand
on the old raw bumper
I don’t want to feel anything else
If you love the dead rocks
and the huge rough pine trees
Ok I like them too
Tell me if the wind
makes a pretty sound
in the billion billion needles
I’ll close my eyes and smile
Tell me if it’s a good morning
or a clear morning
Tell me what the fuck kind of morning
it is
and I’ll buy it
And get the dog
to stop whining and barking
This isn’t China
nobody’s going to eat it
It’s just going to get fed and petted
Ok where were we?
Ok go if you must.
I’ll create the cosmos
by myself
I’ll let it all stick to me
every fucking pine needle
And I’ll broadcast my affection
from this shaven dome
360 degrees
to all the dramatic vistas
to all the mists and snows
that moves across
the shining mountains
to the women bathing
in the stream
and combing their hair
on the roofs
to the voiceless ones
who have petitioned me
from their surprising silence
to the poor in the heart
(oh more and more to them)
to all the thought-forms
and leaking mental objects
that you get up here
at the end of your ghostly life”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“GOOD GERMANS

You took me to your family
You warned me well before
That your father is a fascist
And your mother is a whore

I was kind of disappointed
I was bored to elll the truth:
Your folks they're just Good Germans
but you, you're Hitler Youth

So I'm going to live in China
Where you get a better deal
Where your killer is a poet
And your comrade is a girl

-1973”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“And when the hunger for your touch
Rises from the hunger,
You whisper, "You have loved enough,
Now let me me the Lover.”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


“I salute you
Brave spirit
Who has swallowed so much
And tasted so little.”
― Leonard Cohen, quote from Book of Longing


About the author

Leonard Cohen
Born place: in Westmount, Québec, Canada
Born date September 21, 1934
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