"The Guests" as written by and Leonard Cohen....
One by one, the guests arrive
The guests are coming through
The open-hearted many
The broken-hearted few
And no one knows where the night is going
And no one knows why the wine is flowing
Oh, love I need you, I need you, I need you, I need you, oh
I need you now

And those who dance, begin to dance
Those who weep begin
And "welcome, welcome" cries a voice
"Let all my guests come in"

And no one knows where the night is going
And no one knows why the wine is flowing
Oh, love I need you, I need you, I need you, I need you, oh
I need you now

And all go stumbling through that house
In lonely secrecy
Saying "do reveal yourself"
Or "why has thou forsaken me?"

And no one knows where the night is going
And no one knows why the wine is flowing
Oh, love I need you, I need you, I need you, I need you, oh
I need you now

All at once the torches flare
The inner door flies open
One by one they enter there
In every style of passion

And no one knows where the night is going
And no one knows why the wine is flowing
Oh, love I need you, I need you, I need you, I need you, oh
I need you now

And here they take their sweet repast
While house and grounds dissolve
And one by one the guests are cast beyond the garden wall

And no one knows where the night is going
And no one knows why the wine is flowing
Oh, love I need you, I need you, I need you, I need you, oh
I need you now

Those who dance, begin to dance
Those who weep begin
Those who earnestly are lost
Are lost and lost again

And no one knows where the night is going
And no one knows why the wine is flowing
Oh, love I need you, I need you, I need you, I need you, oh
I need you now

One by the guests arrive
The guests are coming through
The broken-hearted many
The open-hearted few

And no one knows where the night is going
And no one knows why the wine is flowing
Oh, love I need you, I need you, I need you, I need you, oh
I need you now


Lyrics submitted by mozza_fan

"The Guests" as written by Leonard Cohen

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Guests song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • 0
    General Commenti think it is about peoples need to know what their life is about
    finding god
    acesson April 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think this song, like 'Dance Me to the End of Love', is about the Holocaust and people entering the gas chambers. It becomes particularly harrowing when read in this way.


    All at one the torches flare,
    The inner door flies open,
    One by one, they enter there,
    In every style of passion,

    And no-one knows where the night is going,
    And no-one knows why the wine is flowing,
    Oh love, I need you,
    I need you,
    I need you,
    I need you, oh,
    I need you now


    It speaks of horror, fear and confusion, of love and loss and of dull, aching acceptance as it starts to happen over again. An astonishing piece of writing - a haunting allegory of humanity's darkest hour.


    And here they take their sweet repast,
    While house and grounds dissolve,
    And one by one the guests are cast,
    Beyond the garden wall,

    And no-one knows where the night is going,
    And no-one knows why the wine is flowing,
    Oh love, I need you,
    I need you,
    I need you,
    I need you, oh,
    I need you now
    lowerwolfon January 29, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI found a link on Youtube where we are gifted with Cohen actually explaining, in some detail, the meaning of this song. That makes it impossible to refute - still I was quite surprised by his explanation. Here's the link if you want to hear him:
    youtube.com/…
    camabeluon March 23, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think Cohen is saying we´re all strangers in this world.

    Like God is having us for a dinner party

    And we don´t know the reasons why, but still we´re here.

    So we fill up the time weeping, crying or dancing. And it just goes round and round like some merry dance which we can never truly understand.

    And we beg and beg for some realisation, for God to reveal himself, but nothing happens.

    So we have to just keep on grasping in the darkness and making the most of our time in this strange place we call ´the world
    hejira1984on December 01, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think this song is about a funeral. An emotional one.

    "One by one, the guests arrive
    The guests are coming through
    The open-hearted many
    The broken-hearted few"

    In the beginning, when the "guests" arrive, most of them are open-hearted. In the end of the song, the lyric changes into "broken-hearted many". I think broken-hearted of all the pain during the funeral.

    "And no one knows where the night is going
    And no one knows why the wine is flowing
    Oh, love I need you ... oh I need you now"
    I need you to tell me what happens next (in the night) and why I'm (or we are) drinking wine.

    "And those who dance, begin to dance
    Those who weep begin
    And "welcome, welcome" cries a voice
    Let all my guests come in"

    I don't think the dancing is the kind of dancing you do at a party. More like slowly moving with the music, in silence and in pain. The voice is from the deceased, he asks the people who come for their last goodbye, to come in. They are his guests.

    "And all go stumbling through that house
    In lonely secrecy
    Saying "do reveal yourself"
    Or "why has thou forsaken me?"

    The guests come in, slowly and awkward. Secretly, they hope that he will reveal himself. This could mean: rise up from death or an open coffin? Others are asking themselves why he has forsaken them.

    "All at once the torches flare
    The inner door flies open
    One by one they enter there
    In every style of passion"

    Maybe this is about the cremation itself. The fire, the door where the coffin will go through. Every guest has its style of passion, its own reason for being there and its own way of sadness and grieving.

    "And here they take their sweet repast
    While house and grounds dissolve
    And one by one the guests are cast beyond the garden wall"

    Now, everyone is in the next room where they have coffee and a cake (sweet repast). This is while everything falls apart and fades away. There will be more broken-hearted than in the beginning. The casting of guests is a metaphore for condoleances, I think.

    Those who dance, begin to dance
    Those who weep begin
    Those who earnestly are lost
    Are lost and lost again

    There are people who still dance, people who cry and people who are lost. And these will not recover from their loss.
    kippetjeon July 12, 2016   Link

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