Take This Longing

©Leonard Cohen, released on New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974)

.

Many men have loved the bells

you fastened to the rein,

and everyone who wanted you

they found what they will always want again.

Your beauty lost to you yourself

just as it was lost to them.

.

Oh take this longing from my tongue,

whatever useless things these hands have done.

Let me see your beauty broken down

like you would do for one you love.

.

Your body like a searchlight

my poverty revealed,

I would like to try your charity

until you cry, "Now you must try my greed."

And everything depends upon

how near you sleep to me

.

Just take this longing from my tongue

all the lonely things my hands have done.

Let me see your beauty broken down

like you would do for one you love.

.

Hungry as an archway

through which the troops have passed,

I stand in ruins behind you,

with your winter clothes, your broken sandal straps.

I love to see you naked over there

especially from the back.

.

Oh take this longing from my tongue,

all the useless things my hands have done,

untie for me your hired blue gown,

like you would do for one that you love.

.

You're faithful to the better man,

I'm afraid that he left.

So let me judge your love affair

in this very room where I have sentenced

mine to death.

I'll even wear these old laurel leaves

that he's shaken from his head.

.

Just take this longing from my tongue,

all the useless things my hands have done,

let me see your beauty broken down,

like you would do for one you love.

.

Like you would do for one you love.

.

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