"Master Song" as written by and Leonard Cohen....
I believe that you heard your master sing
When I was sick in bed.
I suppose that he told you everything
That I keep locked away in my head.
Your master took you traveling,
Well at least that's what you said.
And now do you come back to bring
Your prisoner wine and bread?

You met him at some temple, where
They take your clothes at the door.
He was just a numberless man in a chair
Who'd just come back from the war.
And you wrap up his tired face in your hair
And he hands you the apple core.
Then he touches your lips now so suddenly bare
Of all the kisses we put on some time before.

And he gave you a German Shepherd to walk
With a collar of leather and nails,
And he never once made you explain or talk
About all of the little details,
Such as who had a word and who had a rock,
And who had you through the mails.
Now your love is a secret all over the block,
And it never stops not even when your master fails.

And he took you up in his aeroplane,
Which he flew without any hands,
And you cruised above the ribbons of rain
That drove the crowd from the stands.
Then he killed the lights in a lonely Lane
And, an ape with angel glands,
Erased the final wisps of pain
With the music of rubber bands.

And now I hear your master sing,
You kneel for him to come.
His body is a golden string
That your body is hanging from.
His body is a golden string,
My body has grown numb.
Oh now you hear your master sing,
Your shirt is all undone.

And will you kneel beside this bed
That we polished so long ago,
Before your master chose instead
To make my bed of snow?
Your eyes are wild and your knuckles are red
And you're speaking far too low.
No I can't make out what your master said
Before he made you go.

Then I think you're playing far too rough
For a lady who's been to the moon;
I've lain by this window long enough
To get used to an empty room.
And your love is some dust in an old man's cough
Who is tapping his foot to a tune,
And your thighs are a ruin, you want too much,
Let's say you came back some time too soon.

I loved your master perfectly
I taught him all that he knew.
He was starving in some deep mystery
Like a man who is sure what is true.
And I sent you to him with my guarantee
I could teach him something new,
And I taught him how you would long for me
No matter what he said no matter what you'd do.

I believe that you heard your master sing
While I was sick in bed,
I'm sure that he told you everything
I must keep locked away in my head.
Your master took you travelling,
Well at least that's what you said,
And now do you come back to bring
Your prisoner wine and bread?


Lyrics submitted by Hosimosi

"Master Song" as written by Leonard Cohen

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Master Song song meanings
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  • +1
    Song MeaningThis has always been one of my favorites, and I've always understood it to be from the perspective of the person who was first left/sexually betrayed in a three-way relationship, using Cohen's wonderful way of mythologizing the small importances of an individual life. "You" have left me and followed your master, because you found ecstasy with him (been to the moon). And I here am still your prisoner, and now you know how it feels, because he has sent you away as well because he doesn't feel he has your complete loyalty, since part of you continues to long for me. But even so, you aren't coming back to me fully, so I will likely only get a bare level of sustenance from your return (I am sick in bed / your thighs are ruined/ and you only bring me wine and bread.)

    I agree with BlackEyedAngel that this song is in many ways a partner with Famous Blue Raincoat -- it asks the same essential question: What do you do/how can you feel when you are betrayed and then your lover returns?
    CompressedAireon October 30, 2011   Link

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