"To a Teacher" as written by and Leonard Cohen....
[Dedicated to A. M. Klein (1909-1972)]

Hurt once and for all into silence.
A long pain ending without a song to prove it.
Who could stand beside you so close to Eden,
When you glinted in every eye the held-high
Razor, shivering every ram and son?
And now the silent loony bin, where
The shadows live in the rafters like
Day-weary bats,
Until the turning mind, a radar signal,
Lures them to exaggerate
Mountain-size on the white stone wall
Your tiny limp.
How can I leave you in such a house?
Are there no more saints and wizards
To praise their ways with pupils,
No more evil to stun with the slap
Of a wet red tongue?
Did you confuse the Messiah in a mirror
And rest because he had finally come?
Let me cry Help beside you, Teacher.
I have entered under this dark roof
As fearlessly as an honoured son
Enters his father's house.



Lyrics submitted by softasfire

"To a Teacher" as written by Leonard Cohen

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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    General CommentI would love a line by line translation of this song.

    I know it is devoted to A.M. Klein, another immoirtal Canadian poet who was a tragic figure and mentor of Leonard Cohen.

    A.M. Klein was Jewish and very troubled. He suffered much due to the injustices that were occurring to himself and his people. After visiting the Nazi concentration camps after World War 2, AM Klein did attempt suicide and went into a severe depression.

    I do not understand however a number of the literary allusions made throughout this poem; some of which are likely allusions to Judism.

    It is quite a heart-felt tribute but I lack the knowledge to fully understand.
    HanselGon March 20, 2008   Link

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