Leonard Cohen Identifies Voice In Night Comes On As “My Mother’s True Voice”
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
From Night Comes On
By Leonard Cohen
AL: In the song “Night Comes On,” I guess it’s the mother who asks the son to return to the world … That’s my interpretation.
LC: That’s right.
AL: What is the voice that made you return to the world? Is she spiritual? Material? Sexual or sensual?
LC: This is probably my mother’s true voice.
AL: Masha. You remembered and you went back into the world, you came back to us.
LC: The voice of my mother in my life – she died a few years ago – remains the wisest.
LC: Wisdom. A wisdom not sublime, not exalted, not …
AL: Something quiet, peaceful?
LC: Quiet and practical, pragmatic.
Quotation excerpted from Meeting with Leonard Cohen – Interview by Albert Labbouz, Translation and adaptation: Dr. Marc Gaffié (Patrice Clos: “Throughout the conversation, Leonard spoke mainly in French but also in English. It is this synthesis of the two languages that was absolutely necessary.”) Paris, June 29, 2001. Published in French; this excerpt via Google Translate. Photos of Leonard Cohen, his sisterEsther , & his mother Masha courtesy Maarten Massa.
I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Jan 8, 2018.