Joan of Arc

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I’m a fan of the music and poetry of Leonard Cohen every since I heard Suzanne in my teens sung by Judy Collins. I forgot about some of those tunes until today when I was listening to Ballad of a Runaway Horse.  Still as haunting as before.

This video features the song found on the  Famous Blue Raincoat with Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes.

“Joan Of Arc” – Leonard Cohen

Now the flames they followed Joan of Arc
as she came riding through the dark;
no moon to keep her armor bright,
no man to get her through this dark and smoky night.
 She said, “I’m tired of the war,
I want the kind of work I had before,
a wedding dress or something white
to wear upon my swollen appetite.”
 Well, I’m glad to hear you talk this way,
I’ve watched you riding every day
and something in me yearns to win
such a cold and lonesome heroine.
 “And who are you?” she sternly spoke
to the one beneath the smoke.
“Why, I’m fire,” he replied,
“And I love your solitude, I love your pride.”
 “Then fire, make your body cold, 

I’m going to give you mine to hold,”
And saying this she climbed inside
to be his one, to be his only bride.

And deep into his fiery heart 

he took the dust of Joan of Arc,
and high above the wedding guests
he hung the ashes of her lovely wedding dress.

It was deep into his fiery heart
he took the dust of Joan of Arc,
and then she clearly understood
if he was fire, oh then she must be wood.

I saw her wince, I saw her cry,
I saw the glory in her eye.
Myself I long for love and light,
but must it come so cruel, and must it be so bright?

Ballad of a Runaway Horse

An amazing song interpreted by Emmylou Harris on her album Cowgirl’s Dream


“Say a prayer for the cowgirl her horse ran away
She’ll walk ’til she finds him her darlin’ her stray
But the river’s in flood and the roads are awash
And the bridges break up in the panic of loss

And there’s nothin’ to follow nowhere to go
He’s gone like the summer gone like the snow
And the crickets are breaking her heart with their song
As the day caves in and the night is all wrong

Did she dream it was he who went galloping past
And bent down the fern broke open the grass
And printed the mud with the well-hammered shoe
That she nailed to his speed in the dreams of her youth

And altough he goes grazin’ a minute away
She tracks him all night she tracks him all day
And she’s blind to his presence except to compare
Her injury here with his punishment there

Then at home on a branch on a high stream
A songbird sings out so suddenly
And the sun is warm and the soft winds ride
On a willow tree by the riverside

An the world is sweet and world is wide
And he’s there where the light and the darkness divide
And the steam’s comin’ off him he’s huge and he’s shy
And he steps on the moon when he paws at the sky

And he comes to her hand but he’s nor really tame
He longs to be lost she longs for the same
And he’ll boft and he’ll plunge thru the first open pass
To roll and to feed in the sweet mountain grass

Or he’ll make a break for the high plateau
Where ther’s nothing above and noting below
It’s time for their burden the wip and the spur
Will she ride with him or will he ride with her

So she binds herself to her galopping steed
And he binds himself to the woman in need
And there is no space just left and right
And there is no time but there is day and night

Then she learns on his neck and whispers low
Whither thou goest I will go
And they turn as one the head for the plain
No need for the whipe oh no need for the rain

Now the clasp of this union who fastens it tight
Who snaps it asunder the very next night
Some say it’s him some say it’s her
Some say love’s like smoke beyond all repair

So my darlin’ my darlin’ just let go by
That old silhouette on the great western sky
And I’ll pick out a tune and they’ll move right along
And they’re gone like smoke and they’re gone like this song

Say a prayer for the cowgirl”

-Leonard Cohen

I am also including a version sung by Leonard Cohen who wrote the song. He praised the way that Emmylou performed his song.

Leonard Cohen has created a wealth of haunting songs and poems, I’ll need to post more.