"Avalanche" as written by and Soraya Lamilla....
Getting sick of starting over
On the same
Argument
We could sit around and talk it over
Or take a trip
To clear our minds
At the entrance of Mount Wilson
It's feeling like the right decision
Some times you go outside
To get inside
If I could only hear you say
That you are down but you're ok
We should have said the things we felt
Is it too late
Park the car and hit the trail
The air feels sharp
On our skin
We'll see the snow as it is melting
Spring must be on
Her way again
We didn't see her coming for us
I guess that's mother nature's way
Sometimes you go outside
To get inside
If I could only hear you say
That you are down but you're ok
We should have said the things we felt
Is it too late
Trapped beneath the wall of snow
You're only ten
Feet away
Silence has a way of speaking
Only now
Do we understand
If I could only hear you say
That you are down but you're ok
We should have said the things we felt
Is it too late


Lyrics submitted by Hosimosi, edited by Wyzygy, tobeortobe, Mignon

"Avalanche" as written by Leonard Cohen

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Avalanche song meanings
Add your thoughts

41 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +3
    General Commenti think this song is about someone who is in a state of depression and because of that has caused him to become horrible to his wife, partner, lover... i think the depression "has covered up his soul" as ids described in the song. This "side A" of the album is known as the side of "hate" and the latter, "love". the "I" is more than likely cohen. The lyrics seems to suggest cohen is ashamed of his actions although that isn't for certain.
    tompriceon August 25, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is a song about God, communicating to man.

    "I sleep beneath the golden hill" - the Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem, is a golden dome on the Temple Mount, which used to be the site of the Temple of Solomon... Where God was supposed to dwell.

    "When I am on a pedestal, you did not raise me there" - God is not above us because we worship Him. We worship Him because He is above us.

    "Your laws do not compel me to kneel grotesque and bare" - self explanitory.

    "The crumbs of love that you offer me, they're the crumbs I've left behind" - God has given us the ability to love. We think that when we do acts of love, we are something special, but it is He who created goodness in the first place.

    "Your pain is no credential here" - When the time for judgement comes, the self-flaggelating nuts will be judged along with everyone else. Their pain is not a substitute for righteousness.

    "I have begun to long for you, I who have no greed; I have begun to ask for you, I who have no need" - As powerful as God is, he still oves us and wants us to love him in return.

    "You say you've gone away from me, but I can feel you when you breathe" - We can try to hide from God, but as the examples from the bible show (Adam, Jonah, etc.), it is impossible.

    "Do not dress in those rags for me, I know you are not poor; don't love me quite so fiercely now
    when you know that you are not sure" - Hypocricy will get you no where. As said before, your pain is no credential, so stop imposing suffering upon yourself. Do not act devoutly if you do not truly believe in God. He can tell you‘re faking.

    I am not a religious person, but this explaination sort of just jumped out at me. I think it makes sense.
    pseudonym123on June 24, 2008   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningAll words are symbols that merely refer to descriptions and actions in the illusory world of objects. In the spiritual world, they refer to communications between God and man. For example, Jesus was a man who realized that his body (an object) was a symbol for God (Spirit), and so became the Christ, the manifestation of God in the world of objects. He appeared in order to save people from their false beliefs in form, which imprisons them in hell. The Christ in Jesus recognized the Christ in all people, knowing that their bodies were illusory. People believe, as Jesus once did, that the world of objects exists as a temporal reality external to each individual mind. Jesus realized that the Christ within Him is an eternal light that shines away the illusory world of objects. The world of objects is symbolized by "darkness" since it is unilluminated. The Christ light dispels the darkness and experiences the reality of all people as the Christ (Spirit) within them. Since their bodies are illusory, all people are united in the one reality, the Christ (or Spirit, or Light).
    So the Christ in Jesus awoke (stepped into) in an avalanche of form. The false belief in the reality of form disfigures (as opposed to transfiguring) all who have not seen the light within them an others. The Buddha said that the world is pain. Who wishes to conquer pain? Who must learn to serve the Light of Spirit? Who needs company when All are One?
    And what of symbolizism of the centre of the world? Jewish tradition identifies the Golden Dome of the rock, in Jerusalem, as the foundation stone of the world.

    I will continue later. As an aside, the name Leonard Cohen means "Lion Priest."
    woodshadowon December 14, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentCheck out any mental health website and the group will claim this song as their own. Here's a great article should you know anyone with Borderline Personality Disorder. Read it then RUN: (How to End a Relationship with a Borderline Personality Disorder Sufferer)

    www (dot) ehow (dot) com/how_2154562_end-relationship-borderline-personality-disorder.html
    StayOUTOFMYLIFEon March 25, 2012   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningSorry, I should have made this a comment instead of a reply:

    "You who wish to conquer pain, you must learn, learn to serve me well."
    The Christ is the manifestation of God in the world we perceive as objects (or more abstractly, of form). When Jesus looks at a person, He sees beyond the person's body, and sees only the Christ within ("Jesus" symbolizes any person imprisoned in the (false)reality of exteral objects, as most of us do; but our true reality is the eternal Christ that dwells within each of us). When we view the world as a world of objects, we see illusion. But what we really are (the Christ) trancends the world of objects. If we refuse to view the true reality of the unity of all people as the Christ, we suffer (as the Buddha said). We suffer only when we do not obey the law of our true being. Many use the word "God" as the symbol that created the laws of being (or of existence). When Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden, they entered the world of objective "reality," and began to suffer pain. Adam and Eve are symbols which represent any of us currently imprisoned in the world of pain. Adam and Eve
    disobeyed the law of God.
    So if a person wishes to conquer pain, that person must learn to serve God well.
    The word "satan" symbolizes darkness, the absence of the Christ light. Satan is the belief in the world of objects as an external reality. The world of the belief in objects is hell.

    I will continue later.
    woodshadowon December 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHave you noticed the amazing similarity to Segovia's Prelude No. 3?
    nostradamuszenon June 22, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI'm not sure the narrator has any self-loathing here.
    Perhaps a mutual self-discovery.
    All the negative descriptions come with reference to her perception of him "that you see" or "at which you stare"
    It's not clear to me whether he saw himself clearly all along and had finally reached a breaking point to set her straight; or, if her view of him had infected his vision of himself.

    As an additional thought: most of the reference is to wealth & poverty. I suspect the song could refer to class struggle nearly as easily as a romantic one.
    Birdsheadon May 16, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentCohen is an amazing songwriter. I especially the feeling he puts into this song. The avalanche is the relationship: someone trying to keep himself or herself together to make things work, but constantly failing due to self-doubt; loathing; and a refusal to deal with those issues head on. S/he feels she has nothing of substance to offer anyone. I just dumped the most wonderful man who persued me and wooed me for 8 months online and 5 weeks in person (and whom I thought just might be in my life forever) but he has a disorder (like two people I previously befriended), and although it was not a deal-breaker by any means, he refused to let me into his emotional world. Been there. Done that. Ended it. When they toy with you and refuse to let you all the way in, you walk. And if they don't come after you, they don't want you bad enough. And Cohen, with this song, captures the pain and the sadness, but not on the part of the love interest; rather, the heartwreching pain of the one who suffers in silence and sets herself up for failure in relationships.
    NooContacton August 26, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMy interpretation is that it's an aspect of Chen's muse talking to him, and those inspired in a similar way. Which is not to say anyone else's is wrong or unsupported. But, recently, I hear the lines like this, possibly because I am a one man band partially named after this song:

    Well I stepped into an avalanche, (I entered the world of senses)
    It covered up my soul; (but could not be properly expressed)
    When I am not this hunchback that you see, (When I am not this negative ugliness I project)
    I sleep beneath the golden hill. (I remain as an eternal archetype of desire)

    You who wish to conquer pain,
    (To defeat what I express)
    You must learn, learn to serve me well. (You must find it's perfect expression through yourself)

    You strike my side by accident (You come across my dark vein of creativity)
    As you go down for your gold. (As you search for your own voice and meaning/success
    L.C often said he got into music cause it paid better than poetry)

    The cripple here that you clothe and feed (This archetype to which you give musical form)
    Is neither starved nor cold;
    (Does not actually need you, many others do the same)
    He does not ask for your company,
    (You are not necessary),
    Not at the centre, the centre of the world. [Because I (the archetype) am essential and eternal in the human spirit]

    When I am on a pedestal,
    You did not raise me there.
    ( I made you famous and relevant, not the other way around)
    Your laws do not compel me
    To kneel grotesque and bare.
    (You can't invoke me for your art without experiencing me on my own terms)
    I myself am the pedestal (Everyone listens to your dark songs because I am inside them too)
    For this ugly hump at which you stare. (And that's why you find me compelling to write about)

    You who wish to conquer pain,
    You must learn what makes me kind; (If you want to stop suffering, find the key to the redemption of the archetype and it's real meaning.)
    The crumbs of love that you offer me, (Fake, maudlin, rehashed emotions will not do the trick)
    They're the crumbs I've left behind. (They have already been expressed.)
    Your pain is no credential here, (Your personal suffering is not special, and entitles you to nothing)
    It's just the shadow, shadow of my wound. (But it shows you where I am inside your psyche)

    I have begun to long for you, (You are feeling the need to say)
    I who have no greed (What does not need or want to be said)
    I have begun to ask for you, (You are becoming a chosen vehicle of my expression)
    I who have no need. (Although I am omnipresent in everyone already)
    You say you've gone away from me, (You want to separate your life from the force you invoked, and find a gentler muse)
    But I can feel you when you breathe. (But I'm in you now, constantly, like it or not.)

    Do not dress in those rags for me, (Don't pretend your personal experience of suffering is unique and worthy of sympathy)
    I know you are not poor (It isn't, and we both know it.)
    And don't love me quite so fiercely now (I gave you ideas, and you were proud, but lose the pride)
    When you know that you are not sure, (You have not yet fully experienced me)
    It is your turn, beloved,
    It is your flesh that I wear
    (But you will. And so will others, through you.).
    astralmuckon December 02, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMy interpretation is that it's an aspect of Chen's muse talking to him, and those inspired in a similar way. Which is not to say anyone else's is wrong or unsupported. But, recently, I hear the lines like this, possibly because I am a one man band partially named after this song:

    Well I stepped into an avalanche, (I entered the world of senses)
    It covered up my soul; (but could not be properly expressed)
    When I am not this hunchback that you see, (When I am not this negative ugliness I project)
    I sleep beneath the golden hill. (I remain as an eternal archetype of desire)

    You who wish to conquer pain,
    (To defeat what I express)
    You must learn, learn to serve me well. (You must find it's perfect expression through yourself)

    You strike my side by accident (You come across my dark vein of creativity)
    As you go down for your gold. (As you search for your own voice and meaning/success
    L.C often said he got into music cause it paid better than poetry)

    The cripple here that you clothe and feed (This archetype to which you give musical form)
    Is neither starved nor cold;
    (Does not actually need you, many others do the same)
    He does not ask for your company,
    (You are not necessary),
    Not at the centre, the centre of the world. [Because I (the archetype) am essential and eternal in the human spirit]

    When I am on a pedestal,
    You did not raise me there.
    ( I made you famous and relevant, not the other way around)
    Your laws do not compel me
    To kneel grotesque and bare.
    (You can't invoke me for your art without experiencing me on my own terms)
    I myself am the pedestal (Everyone listens to your dark songs because I am inside them too)
    For this ugly hump at which you stare. (And that's why you find me compelling to write about)

    You who wish to conquer pain,
    You must learn what makes me kind; (If you want to stop suffering, find the key to the redemption of the archetype and it's real meaning.)
    The crumbs of love that you offer me, (Fake, maudlin, rehashed emotions will not do the trick)
    They're the crumbs I've left behind. (They have already been expressed.)
    Your pain is no credential here, (Your personal suffering is not special, and entitles you to nothing)
    It's just the shadow, shadow of my wound. (But it shows you where I am inside your psyche)

    I have begun to long for you, (You are feeling the need to say)
    I who have no greed (What does not need or want to be said)
    I have begun to ask for you, (You are becoming a chosen vehicle of my expression)
    I who have no need. (Although I am omnipresent in everyone already)
    You say you've gone away from me, (You want to separate your life from the force you invoked, and find a gentler muse)
    But I can feel you when you breathe. (But I'm in you now, constantly, like it or not.)

    Do not dress in those rags for me, (Don't pretend your personal experience of suffering is unique and worthy of sympathy)
    I know you are not poor (It isn't, and we both know it.)
    And don't love me quite so fiercely now (I gave you ideas, and you were proud, but lose the pride)
    When you know that you are not sure, (You have not yet fully experienced me)
    It is your turn, beloved,
    It is your flesh that I wear
    (But you will. And so will others, through you.).
    astralmuckon December 02, 2012   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain