Avalanche

©Leonard Cohen, released on Songs of Love and Hate (1971)

.

Well I stepped into an avalanche,

it covered up my soul;

when I am not this hunchback that you see,

I sleep beneath the golden hill.

You who wish to conquer pain,

you must learn, learn to serve me well.

.

You strike my side by accident

as you go down for your gold.

The cripple here that you clothe and feed

is neither starved nor cold;

he does not ask for your company,

not at the centre, the centre of the world.

.

When I am on a pedestal,

you did not raise me there.

Your laws do not compel me

to kneel grotesque and bare.

I myself am the pedestal

for this ugly hump at which you stare.

.

You who wish to conquer pain,

you must learn what makes me kind;

the crumbs of love that you offer me,

they're the crumbs I've left behind.

Your pain is no credential here,

it's just the shadow, shadow of my wound.

.

I have begun to long for you,

I who have no greed;

I have begun to ask for you,

I who have no need.

You say you've gone away from me,

but I can feel you when you breathe.

.

Do not dress in those rags for me,

I know you are not poor;

you don't love me quite so fiercely now

when you know that you are not sure,

it is your turn, beloved,

it is your flesh that I wear.

.

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