Feb 022013

Student packets, story to write, this is where I go: order pizza from Pizza Time, splash vodka into a glass, listen to Lenny, and push on into the night.

Cohen says this is his translation of Federico García Lorca’s poem “LittleViennese Waltz.” The lyrics go like this.
(after Lorca)
Now in Vienna there’s 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 it’s jaws
Oh 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 hallways 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 it’s broken waist in your hand
This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz
With it’s very own breath of brandy and Death
Dragging it’s 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 it’s “I’ll never forget you, you know!”
This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz …
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
Oh my love, Oh my love
Take this waltz, take this waltz
It’s yours now. It’s all that there is


Here  at Harper’s is the Spanish version of Lorca’s poem and another translation.


  2 Responses to “This Waltz — Leonard Cohen”

  1. I know this post has been up for ages, but I saved it until now. I used that music, (and took liberties both with it and with the original text as great as Cohen did with the text) for a dance, “Vienna,” I choreographed in the early ’90s. The whole story of Lorca in New York I find tragic: he being gay, Catholic (when that was a near-impossible combination) and alienated from the city and its language. Both Lorca’s situation and Cohen’s interpretation resonated with my own, then-recent loss of a Viennese husband. Thanks for this.

  2. Leonard Cohen his voice is so hypnotic. ‘Take This Waltz’ by far one of my absolute favorites. love the lyrics http://lyricsmusic.name/leonard-cohen-lyrics/im-your-man/take-this-waltz.html

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