"Field Commander Cohen" as written by and Leonard Cohen....
Field Commander Cohen, he was our most important spy.
Wounded in the line of duty,
Parachuting acid into diplomatic cocktail parties,
Urging Fidel Castro to abandon fields and castles.
Leave it all and like a man,
Come back to nothing special,
Such as waiting rooms and ticket lines,
Silver bullet suicides,
And messianic ocean tides,
And racial roller-coaster rides
And other forms of boredom advertised as poetry.
I know you need your sleep now,
I know your life's been hard.
But many men are falling,
Where you promised to stand guard.

I never asked but I heard you cast your lot along with the poor.
But then I overheard your prayer,
That you be this and nothing more
Than just some grateful faithful woman's favorite singing millionaire,
The patron Saint of envy and the grocer of despair,
Working for the Yankee Dollar.

I know you need your sleep now

Ah, lover come and lie with me, if my lover is who you are,
And be your sweetest self awhile until I ask for more, my child.
Then let the other selves be wrong, yeah, let them manifest and come
Till every taste is on the tongue,
Till love is pierced and love is hung,
And every kind of freedom done, then oh,
Oh my love, oh my love, oh my love,
Oh my love, oh my love, oh my love.


Lyrics submitted by Hosimosi

"Field Commander Cohen" as written by Leonard Cohen

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Field Commander Cohen song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentIt looks like a disillusionment with American Democracy, but he isn't abandoning it, he wants it to wake up. The "lover lie with me" on is damning people who sit back apathetically and let the nation sleep, And they will sleep until the nation is destroyed by despotism.
    Winterson January 16, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningFor me, this song comes across as a light-hearted reflection on his career and role at this time.
    "the patron Saint of envy and the grocer of despair... working for the Yankee Dollar."
    omfgauon June 22, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis whole song is beautiful. I sang it once to my friends'/ a crowd.
    The first line that strikes is 'wounded in the line of duty.' then, it reminds me of someone I knew very closely 'parachuting acid onto diplomatic cocktail parties' , my friend would attend fancy parties to which he boasted to me later about acting like a complete fool, to crash them.
    Now Fidel Castro was a great man, he worked hard for reform and became a leader.
    To urge him to 'abandon fields and castles, leave it all and like a man, come back to nothing special.'
    It's like asking someone with great ambitions to give them up for the lesser greater things in life.'Such as waiting rooms...'
    (My friend urged me this way.)

    Then it explains how tired he is. I'll get to that later....

    'I never asked but I heard' This part has to do with giving up 'your lot' something important for 'the poor' those who needed it.

    'But then I overheard your prayer,
    That you be this and nothing more
    Than just some grateful faithful woman's favorite singing millionaire,'

    This line gets to me. As it is a 'prayer' secret of personal choice, like to simply love a woman. (I find it hilarious because of the line favorite singing millionaire, and my own goals to become a singer.} It has probably something to do with leonard cohen, himself.

    It's all a struggle to become an ambitiously beautiful humble man.
    Then it goes back to, with a more honest tone:
    "I know you need your sleep now, I know your life's been hard. But many men are falling where you promised to stand guard."
    Which explains how, truly difficult it is, for certain people to live with humble purposes.
    I assume it means, he was injured in the line of duty, and changed his life around to live around average selfish, but still somewhat angelic purposes. However there is still that very and more-real part of him that is dying 'but many men are falling, where you promised to stand guard'


    So the last part is the finale. In which I assume he falls head over heals for his real, original heart. Even though she or he is not there, he is just illuminating.

    'Then let the other selves be wrong...'
    He's saying, let every other person I was/we were, enrage with anger and come find us, and we will see what we have done 'till every taste is on the tongue'
    'and every kind of freedom done' keep going until they've conquered all of their bad & foolish deeds.

    'then oh my love'
    (I) Wouldn't have to live in this false persona anymore.
    haileybananason January 28, 2013   Link

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