Thursday, November 12, 2009

Though I Take My Song From A Withered Limb

So Leonard Cohen sings in "Rivers Of Dark," a song about Babylon, the fabled city of whores, the city of cinnamon and gold and emeralds and the babble of many languages, all gifts from a stern and jealous god; the city which worshipped a mother goddess, though the song does not tell us that. It was a city which made men weak, unable to drink, impotent to sing:

And I did forget
My holy song:
And I had no strength
In Babylon.

By the rivers dark
Where I could not see
Who was waiting there
Who was hunting me.

And he cut my lip
And he cut my heart.
So I could not drink
From the river dark.

Art has no ownership, ultimately. I can take this song and make it mine, mine in this world of Babylon where the prophets with shining blind eyes preach, where the guns sing, where blood and money flow. Where my lips have been sewn shut and torn apart so many times that my song does not carry, and where I never know who is hunting me.