Night Comes On

Various Positions -- 1984

I went down to the place where I knew she lay waiting
under the marble and the snow.
I said, "Mother, I'm frightened; the thunder and the lightning;
I'll never come through this alone."
She said, "I'll be with you, my shawl wrapped around you,
my hand on your head when you go."
And the night came on; it was very calm;
I wanted the night to go on and on,
but she said, "Go back, go back to the world."

We were fighting in Egypt, when they signed this agreement
that nobody else had to die.
There was this terrible sound and my father went down
with a terrible wound in his side.
He said, "Try to go on, take my books, take my gun,
and remember, my son, how they lied."
And the night comes on, and it's very calm;
I'd like to pretend that my father was wrong,
but you don't want to lie, not to the young.

We were locked in this kitchen; I took to religion,
and I wondered how long she would stay.
I needed so much to have nothing to touch:
I've always been greedy that way.
But my son and my daughter climbed out of the water
crying, "Papa, you promised to play."
And they lead me away to the great surprise
it's, "Papa, don't peek, Papa, cover your eyes."
And they hide, they hide in the world

Now I look for her always; I'm lost in this calling;
I'm tied to the threads of some prayer.
Saying, "When will she summon me, when will she come to me,
what must I do to prepare?" --
Then she bends to my longing, like a willow, like a fountain,
she stands in the luminous air.
And the night comes on, and it's very calm,
I lie in her arms, she says, "When I'm gone
I'll be yours, yours for a song."

Now the crickets are singing, the vesper bells ringing,
the cat's curled asleep in his chair.
I'll go down to Bill's Bar, I can make it that far,
and I'll see if my friends are still there.
Yes, and here's to the few who forgive what you do,
and the fewer who don't even care!
And the night comes on; it's very calm;
I want to cross over, I want to go home,
but she says, "Go back, go back to the world."

Copyright © Leonard Cohen
and Sony/ATV Music Publishing Canada Company
Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved.

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