"So Long, Marianne" as written by and Leonard Cohen....
Come over to the window, my little darling
I'd like to try to read your palm
I used to think I was some kind of Gypsy boy
Before I let you take me home

Now so long, Marianne
It's time that we began to laugh
And cry and cry and laugh about it all again

Well, you know that I love to live with you
But you make me forget so very much
I forget to pray for the angels
And then the angels forget to pray for us

Now so long, Marianne
It's time that we began to laugh
And cry and cry and laugh about it all again

We met when we were almost young
Deep in the green lilac park
You held on to me like I was a crucifix
As we went kneeling through the dark

Oh, so long, Marianne
It's time that we began to laugh
And cry and cry and laugh about it all again

Your letters, they all say that you're beside me now
Then why do I feel alone?
I'm standing on a ledge and your fine spider web
Is fastening my ankle to a stone

Now so long, Marianne
It's time that we began to laugh
And cry and cry and laugh about it all again

For now I need your hidden love
I'm cold as a new razorblade
You left when I told you I was curious
I never said that I was brave

Oh, so long, Marianne
It's time that we began to laugh
And cry and cry and laugh about it all again

Oh, you are really such a pretty one
I see you've gone and changed your name again
And just when I climbed this whole mountainside
To wash my eyelids in the rain

Oh, so long, Marianne
It's time that we began to laugh
And cry and cry and laugh about it all again


Lyrics submitted by Hosimosi, edited by JohnnyLurg, traumermusing

"So Long, Marianne" as written by Leonard Cohen

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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So Long, Marianne song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentOk. I am sorry, but I think my interpretation of this song is going to be a bit darker, but still- doesn't mean that this song isn't beautiful. this song is deep deep love, at a point where love is not the shiny, naive, pretty image of a sunrise, but the sad, melancholic, pensieve and painful image of a sunset. and as usual, these two extremes touch each other.

    If you read a little more about leonard cohen, you will realise that he went through a probably very long phase of depression during his life, at times also coined by thoughts of suicide.
    It is important to get this hint when listening to leonard cohen, but if you listen closely you won't even need that hint.

    Come over to the window, my little darling,
    Id like to try to read your palm
    (He is trying to open up to a women he loves, and asks to come closer and look at life from his perspective- the window is the image of his own point of view- and he wants to imagine a future with her)
    I used to think I was some kind of gypsy boy
    Before I let you take me home.
    (Before he met her he used to feel like the kind of person who always takes love from others, but is incapable of giving back the same kind of love- that is the image of the gypsy boy- given that he is depressed. Depressed people are incapable of showing their feelings, at times they are even incapable of feeling love, emotions, sadness, or joy, but they need love more than anything else, because they have none left inside themselves. and then when he meets her, it is the first time that he is actually capable of feeling to a certain extent, and wants to go "home" with her)

    Chorus: so long marianne, its time that we began
    To laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again
    (This probably refers to the part where his depression has lifted and where he is capable of feeling joy and sadness again- "It's time that we began to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again")

    Well, you know that I love to live with you,
    But you make me forget so very much
    (He is trying to tell her that he wants to live with her, but that he is scared of opening up to her, because doing so would mean letting go, "forgetting" his past)
    I forget to pray for the angel
    And then the angels forget to pray for us.
    (He forgets to open up for a new life, for the angels, for hope etc. and therefore,because he is so closed up against positive emotions and positive sides of life, and therefore positive emotions and experiences don't come to him "And then the angels forget to pray for us!". it's kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy)

    Chorus

    We met when we were almost young
    Deep in the green lilac park
    You held on to me like I was a crucifix
    As we went kneeling through the dark.

    (They probably met a long time ago, and he fell in love with her, she falls in love with him and doesn't want to let him go. probably she is not even aware of the fact that she is holding on to him "like a crucifix", that is just his perception of himself, and they go through a dark phase of his life together, because she is swept into his dark sphere of depression and suicidal thoughts due to their close relationship)

    Chorus

    Your letters say that you are beside me now
    Then why do I feel alone?
    (She assures him time and again that she will be with him and stand through this phase with him despite his suicidal thoughts, but still he feels very isolated and alone, and is still not ready to emotionally acknowledge her love, even though he actually does appreciate it)
    Im standing on a ledge and your fine spider web
    Is fastening my ankle to a stone.
    (he is still on the verge of suicide, and her love is the fine spider web that is keeping him from commiting suicide and is "fastening his ankle to a stone", which means as much as that he is incapable from taking this big step towards death)

    Chorus

    For now I need your hidden love
    Im cold as a new razor blade
    (He acknowledges that he needs her love, but that he is incapable of showing love himself, and therefore he wants her to hide her love to him, because displaying love and emotions openly always comes with expectations and hopes of this love being responded, and he is incapable to do so, but still he needs her to love him. So short- he loves her, but can't show it- and she loves him and wants to show it but he wants her to love him without showing it, because he is "cold as a new razor blade"- incapable of showing and giving emotions)
    You left when I told you I was curious
    I never said that I was brave.
    (The woman, marianne, probably leaves him just at the point where he starts contemplating love with her, and he feels slightly forsaken or deceived, because he did want to dare a relationship with her, but he wasn't ready yet, he was still scared "I never said that i was brave...")
    horus

    O you are really such a pretty one
    I see youve gone and changed your name again
    (HE realises that he lost her because she is very attractive and capable of finding someone else, but he was not able to give her what she needed so she marries someone else"I see you've gone and changed your name again)
    And just when I climbed this whole mountainside
    To wash my eyelids in the rain.

    Sorry but I am incapable of interpreting the last part of the song. I am experiencing the same kind of thing as described in this song, except for the fact that i am "marianne".
    It feels like the person i love is trying to explain his emotions to me via the words of leonard cohen and i am very grateful and amazed at leonard that he was capable of putting such deep and extreme emotions into such soft and beautiful words, so that I can slightly relate to what my "friend" must be going through. it gets very rough if you don't understand, but once you get an idea of what they think and feel, it gets a lot easier. my friend is now about to "climb the mountainside", and i wish him good luck and I hope he knows that i will be waiting on the other side. But since he is not over the mountainside yet, I myself haven't figured out so far how to wash his eyes in the rain...I will think of something;)

    darkred86on April 02, 2009   Link

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