"Boogie Street" as written by Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson....
O Crown of Light, O Darkened One,
I never thought we'd meet.
You kiss my lips, and then it's done
I'm back on Boogie Street.

A sip of wine, a cigarette,
And then it's time to go.
I tidied up the kitchenette
I tuned the old banjo.
I'm wanted at the traffic-jam.
They're saving me a seat.
I'm what I am, and what I am,
Is back on Boogie Street.

And O my love, I still recall
The pleasures that we knew
The rivers and the waterfall,
Wherein I bathed with you.
Bewildered by your beauty there,
I'd kneel to dry your feet.
By such instructions you prepare
A man for Boogie Street.

O Crown of Light, O Darkened Oneâ?¦

So come, my friends, be not afraid.
We are so lightly here.
It is in love that we are made
In love we disappear.
Tho' all the maps of blood and flesh
Are posted on the door,
There's no one who has told us yet
What Boogie Street is for.

O Crown of Light, O Darkened One,
I never thought we'd meet.
You kiss my lips, and then it's done
I'm back on Boogie Street.

A sip of wine, a cigarette,
And then it's time to go


Lyrics submitted by atahualpa, edited by jacksongreer

"Boogie Street" as written by Leonard Cohen, Sharon Robinson

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Boogie Street song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentI believe it's about his experiences in the buddhist temple (O crown of light, etc) and his return to normal life (Boogie street).

    As with all of L Cohen's songs there is a spiritual message in them tinged with a great sense of humour (I’m wanted at the traffic-jam.
    They’re saving me a seat.)

    What he has achieved in the buddhist experience is acceptance and less anxiety
    jkenyon June 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn an interview with Brian D. Johnson in Maclean's Magazine in October 15, 2001 Cohen said of Boogie Street:

    "...during the day Boogie Street is a scene of intense commercial activity... And at night, it was a scene of intense and alarming sexual exchange."

    Later he goes on to talk of its metaphorical meaning: "Boogie Street to me was that street of work and desire, the ordinary life and also the place we live in most of the time that is relieved by the embrace of your children, or the kiss of your beloved, or the peak experience in which you yourself are dissolved, and there is no one to experience it so you feel the refreshment when you come back from those moments....So we all hope for those heavenly moments, which we get in those embraces and those sudden perceptions of beauty and sensations of pleasure, but we're immediately returned to Boogie Street."
    baudolinoon June 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy interpretation.

    O Crown of Light, O Darkened One,
    (Oh beautiful woman, with such a dark side)

    I never thought we�d meet.
    (you always seemed so unobtainable)

    You kiss my lips, and then it�s done:
    I�m back on Boogie Street.
    (it was a quick affair)

    A sip of wine, a cigarette,
    And then it�s time to go
    (unhealthy diet of single guy)

    I tidied up the kitchenette;
    (single guy has no need for full kitchen, sad)
    I tuned the old banjo.
    I�m wanted at the traffic-jam.
    They�re saving me a seat.
    (a musicians life)

    I�m what I am, and what I am,
    Is back on Boogie Street.
    (I am single, and just the way it is, sad to be back on bs)


    And O my love, I still recall
    The pleasures that we knew;
    The rivers and the waterfall,
    Wherein I bathed with you.
    Bewildered by your beauty there,
    (remembering)

    I�d kneel to dry your feet.
    By such instructions you prepare
    A man for Boogie Street.

    (kneeling down is submitting, by submitting to defeat he loses her interest)

    O Crown of Light, O Darkened One�

    So come, my friends, be not afraid.
    We are so lightly here.
    (life is delicate, we are not immortal)

    It is in love that we are made;
    In love we disappear.
    (we are loved when we pass on -we hope)

    Though all the maps of blood and flesh
    Are posted on the door,
    (blood and flesh, the efforts of pioneers and map makers -work)

    There�s no one who has told us yet
    What Boogie Street is for.

    (true. Boogie street is a place not to be. It's the singles Hell. The problem is the lack of comfort and even though you could be with many, yet, it is the lonley way.)

    O Crown of Light, O Darkened One,
    I never thought we�d meet.
    You kiss my lips, and then it�s done:
    I�m back on Boogie Street.

    A sip of wine, a cigarette,
    And then it�s time to go�

    RJ
    RJSoftwareon June 09, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe whole LP appears to me to articulate the realization that aside from our daily materialism and satisfaction of bodily needs, there is an inner life of the spirit, Cohen's "Secret Life". Jung talked about our archetypes, powerful metaphors that represent our hidden subconscious urges. He described how these were often personified in pagan religions by metaphors such as Orouboros, the dragon that eats its tail, or in his own psychological system by the Anima, an internal female spirit that we project upon women in our lives.
    Isn't there a line in an early Cohen song "I stopped a while to watch the dragon eat its tail"?

    In Cohen's case, there is a tribal system of archetypes that stems from his Jewish roots. You can see this very strongly in the song "By the River's Dark", where, in contrast to the writer of the psalm, he has forgotten his Jerusalem, and as a result his right arm is withered. It has "lost its cunning". But in contrast, he takes on some
    of the power of Babylon.

    Babylon has long epitomised the material and physical world, the world of Boogie Street, although it is strengthened spiritually by its own tribal archetypes, and so not purely material. Another song treats Alexandra leaving, passing between the sentries. This makes us think of Alexander the Great's compaigns, in which he was reputed to have crept undiscovered into the enemy camp to guage its strength. Of course both Babylon and Persia were great empires contemporaneous with the tribe of Israel, although Persepolis has apparently only one mention in the Bible.

    Alexander's own sayings suggest that he is bringing logic, good governance and fair dealing to the barbaric nations that he conquered. There is a similar opposition here, between the spiritual Israelites on the one hand, and corrupt Babylon on the
    other, or alternatively between the humanitarian Greeks and the barbaric Persions. Then of course, the victor always writes the history.

    Cohen has always made a very good living from the commercial world of popular music, whilst his songs have always discussed more spiritual things. He has always "crossed the borders".

    So we have the opposition of two mighty forces, the "Crown of Light" and "the Darkened One". The "we" is the result of the resolution of these two forces, in which the personality becomes formed and whole, "englightenment" from a buddhist point of view, or "individuation" from a Jungian standpoint.

    Alternatively and more cynically, the spiritual forces that drive us are just characterizations of our own physical urges to eat, have sex and children, and to bring them up in our own culture. When these drives have been reconciled and calmed, in the process of individuation, our life is at an end: "here is your cot, your cardboard and piss".

    I love the way that Cohen plays with all these different ideas and archetypes, and switches between the spiritual and the cynical. That surely is the human condition.
    langreson June 10, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe whole LP appears to me to articulate the realization that aside from our daily materialism and satisfaction of bodily needs, there is an inner life of the spirit, Cohen's "Secret Life". Jung talked about our archetypes, powerful metaphors that represent our hidden subconscious urges. He described how these were often personified in pagan religions by metaphors such as Orouboros, the dragon that eats its tail, or in his own psychological system by the Anima, an internal female spirit that we project upon women in our lives.
    Isn't there a line in an early Cohen song "I stopped a while to watch the dragon eat its tail"?

    In Cohen's case, there is a tribal system of archetypes that stems from his Jewish roots. You can see this very strongly in the song "By the River's Dark", where, in contrast to the writer of the psalm, he has forgotten his Jerusalem, and as a result his right arm is withered. It has "lost its cunning". But in contrast, he takes on some
    of the power of Babylon.

    Babylon has long epitomised the material and physical world, the world of Boogie Street, although it is strengthened spiritually by its own tribal archetypes, and so not purely material. Another song treats Alexandra leaving, passing between the sentries. This makes us think of Alexander the Great's compaigns, in which he was reputed to have crept undiscovered into the enemy camp to guage its strength. Of course both Babylon and Persia were great empires contemporaneous with the tribe of Israel, although Persepolis has apparently only one mention in the Bible.

    Alexander's own sayings suggest that he is bringing logic, good governance and fair dealing to the barbaric nations that he conquered.
    There is a similar opposition here, between the spiritual Israelites on the one hand, and corrupt Babylon on the other, or alternatively between the humanitarian Greeks and the barbaric Persions. Then of course, the victor always writes the history.

    Cohen has always made a very good living from the commercial world of popular music, whilst his songs have always discussed more spiritual things. He has always "crossed the borders".

    So we have the opposition of two mighty forces, the "Crown of Light" and "the Darkened One".
    The "we" is the result of the resolution of these two forces, in which the personality becomes formed and whole, "englightenment" from a buddhist point of view, or "individuation" from a Jungian standpoint.

    Alternatively and more cynically, the spiritual forces that drive us are just characterizations of our own physical urges to eat, have sex and children, and to bring them up in our own culture. When these drives have been reconciled and calmed, in the process of individuation, our life is at an end: "here is your cot, your cardboard and piss" of the hospital bed.

    I love the way that Cohen plays with all these different ideas and archetypes, and switches between the spiritual and the cynical.
    That surely is the human condition.
    langreson June 10, 2013   Link

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