I've always enjoyed poetry (and prose) that takes an established sequence of events and offers a different way of interpreting them...
(Poem #744) Joan of Arc
Now the flames they followed Joan of Arc as she came riding through the dark; no moon to keep her armour bright, no man to get her through this very smoky night. She said, "I'm tired of the war, I want the kind of work I had before, a wedding dress or something white to wear upon my swollen appetite." "Well, I'm glad to hear you talk this way, you know I've watched you riding every day and something in me yearns to win such a cold and lonesome heroine." "And who are you?" she sternly spoke to the one beneath the smoke. "Why, I'm fire," he replied, "And I love your solitude, I love your pride." "Then fire, make your body cold, I'm going to give you mine to hold," saying this she climbed inside to be his one, to be his only bride. And deep into his fiery heart he took the dust of Joan of Arc, and high above the wedding guests he hung the ashes of her wedding dress. It was deep into his fiery heart he took the dust of Joan of Arc, and then she clearly understood if he was fire, oh then she must be wood. I saw her wince, I saw her cry, I saw the glory in her eye. Myself I long for love and light, but must it come so cruel, and oh so bright?
Leonard Cohen's subject material has always been the beauty and pain of human emotion, and he brings a sensitive and experienced eye to his study. His songs are often anguished and lonely, yet they're rarely depressing or bitter; instead, they're permeated by an intense, almost touching faith in the power of love, an optimism that redeems his superficial bitterness and brittlety. Today's allegorical song/poem is very interesting . The theme is handled more directly than in several other of Cohen's offerings; at the same time, the poem is less personal, and (perhaps for that very reason) less gut-wrenching. At first reading it seems irrevocably, inexorably pessimistic: Joan's death by fire betokens no hint of the healing effect of love, only its agony. And yet... there seems to be an element of paradox here, for after all, the historical figure of Joan of Arc  is almost the canonical example of the power of faith in the face of overwhelming odds. This insight leads us to another, more positive interpretation of the poem: _despite_ the cruelty and brightness of the fire's embrace, Joan chooses to accept it, to accept the pain and the suffering, in the hope of redemption and salvation. This is Cohen's testament; it may be harsh, but it rings true. thomas.  In other words, I completely misunderstood its meaning, the first time I heard it <grin>.  who, incidentally, figures in several of Cohen's song lyrics - see, for example, "Last Year's Man". [Moreover] This the fourth in a series of poems which are actually the lyrics to popular (or, as the case may be, obscure) songs. I forgot to mention that the previous member of the series, "Conquistador", by Keith Reid, was a guest poem submitted by Amit Chakrabarti. Sorry, Amit.