Guest poem sent in by M. Karki
(Poem #1447) Take This Waltz
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 its 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 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!" 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
Note: This is Leonard Cohen's adaptation of Lorca's "Pequeño Vals Vienes" ("Little Viennese Waltz"). An ordinary English translation of the poem, along with Cohen's version, can be found at: http://www.webheights.net/speakingcohen/waltz.htm The best measure of translated work's worth, as it has often been pointed out, is to see how well it holds up as a poem in the translated language. By that yardstick this poem should be counted among the very best ever. Unfortunately, Cohen's reputation as a poet seems to have suffered much for his taking up singing as a profession... Cohen manages to preserve both Lorca's vision and form while taking many liberties with the words themselves, and the end product is not only the best translation of Lorca in English, but also a song/poem that is not only faithful to Lorca's original but also uniquely Cohen's. Cohen's admiration of Lorca is, of course, quite well known... I always like to think of this poem as Cohen's tribute to his "master". Cheers, Manan.