Take This Waltz

(After Lorca)

Now in Vienna there are ten pretty women.
There's a shoulder where death comes to cry.
There's a lobby with nine hundred windows.
There's a tree where the doves go to die.
There's a piece that was torn from the morning,
and it hangs in the Gallery of Frost—
Ay, ay ay ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz,
take this waltz with the clamp on its jaws.

I want you, I want you, I want you
on a chair with a dead magazine.
In the cave at the tip of the lily,
in some hallway where love's never been.
On a bed where the moon has been sweating,
in a cry filled with footsteps and sand—
Ay, ay ay ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz,
take its broken waist in your hand.

This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz
with its very own breath
of brandy and death,
dragging its tail in the sea.

There's a concert hall in Vienna
where your mouth had a thousand reviews.
There's a bar where the boys have stopped talking,
they've been sentenced to death by the blues.
Ah, but who is it climbs to your picture
with a garland of freshly cut tears?
Ay, ay ay ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz,
take this waltz, it's been dying for years.

There's an attic where children are playing,
where I've got to lie down with you soon,
in a dream of Hungarian lanterns,
in the mist of some sweet afternoon.
And I'll see what you've chained to your sorrow,
all your sheep and your lilies of snow—
Ay, ay ay ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz
with its "I'll never forget you, you know!"

And I'll dance with you in Vienna,
I'll be wearing a river's disguise.
The hyacinth wild on my shoulder
my mouth on the dew of your thighs.
And I'll bury my soul in a scrapbook,
with the photographs there and the moss.
And I'll yield to the flood of your beauty,
my cheap violin and my cross.
And you'll carry me down on your dancing
to the pools that you lift on your wrist—
O my love, O my love
Take this waltz, take this waltz,
it's yours now. It's all that there is.

by Leonard Cohen

Comments (7)

There is such dark genius to his writings that draws me to read and reread this poem... song... this comment on the state of mankind.
...........super nice, a stunning piece of work and honestly in my opinion the poet's best ★
Leonard Cohen translated Federico Garcia Lorca's ''Pequeno Vals Vienes'' (Little Viennese Waltz) from Spanish to English and made of it a true song, with music.. (see below)
Here is the original poem in Spanish, by Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936) , translated by Leonard Cohen as “Take This Waltz”. ______________________________________ ''Pequeno Vals Vienes'' - (''Little Viennese Waltz'') En Viena hay diez muchachas, un hombro donde solloza la muerte y un bosque de palomas disecadas. Hay un fragmento de la manana en el mueso de la escarcha Hay un salon con mil ventanas Ay, ay, ay, ay, Toma este vals con la boca cerrada Este vals, este vals, este vals, de si, de muerte y de conac que moja su cola en el mar Te quiero, te quiero, te quiero, con la butaca y el libro muerto, por el melancolico pasillo en el oscuro desvan del lirio, en nuestra cama de la luna y en la danza que suena la tortuga. Ay, ay, ay, ay, Toma este vals con la boca cerrada En Viena hay cuatro espejos donde juegan tu boca y los ecos, Hay una muerte para piano, que pinta de azul a los muchachos. Hay mendigos por los tejados Hay frescas guirnaldas de llanto Ay, ay, ay, ay, Toma este vals con la boca cerrada Porque te quiero, te quiero, amor mio, en el desvan donde juegan los ninos, sonando viejas luces de Hungria por los rumores de la tarde tibia, viendo ovejas y lirios de nieve por el silencio oscuro de tu frente. Ay, ay, ay, ay, Toma este vals con la boca cerrada En viena bailare contigo con un disfraz que tenga cabeza de rio. Mira que orillas tengo de jacintos Dejare mi boca entre tus piernas, mi alma en fotografias y azucenas, y en las ondas oscuras de tu andar quiero, amor mio, amor mio, dejar, violin y sepulcro, las cintas del vals. ______________________________________ Lorca lived in New-York City in 1929-1930. There he wrote the collection ''Poeta en Nueva-York'', which includes ''Pequeno Vals Vienes'' (''Little Viennese Waltz'') .
This is a beautiful piece of work.
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