Movies in Literature Part 3: Leonard Cohen’s ‘Warning’







                                                            from Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956)

                                        If your neighbour disappears
                                        O if your neighbour disappears
                                        The quiet man who raked his lawn
                                        The girl who always took the sun

                                        Never mention it to your wife
                                        Never say at dinnertime
                                        Whatever happened to that man
                                        Who used to rake his lawn

                                        Never say to your daughter
                                        As you’re walking home from church
                                        Funny thing about that girl
                                        I haven’t seen her for a month

                                       And if your son says to you
                                       Nobody lives next door
                                       They’ve all gone away
                                       Send him to bed with no supper

                                       Because it can spread, it can spread
                                       And one fine evening coming home
                                       Your wife and daughter and son
                                       They’ll have caught the idea and will be gone


8 responses to “Movies in Literature Part 3: Leonard Cohen’s ‘Warning’

  1. A great piece…I knew Cohen was a celebrated poet before he was a celebrated songwriter (21 years old…damn!) but I have not, to my recollection, read much of his work. I should. Great pairing too. The broadly hysterical and the quietly foreboding…

  2. Thanks for your comments Movieman. The photos are all from one movie – any guesses anyone?

  3. No guesses whatsoever, but I’m delighted to find LC’s poetry being quoted rather than his lyrics (although there is considerable overlap). I discovered his poetry before his music, as there was a copy of ‘The Energy of Slaves’ on my mother’s book case when I was growing up. A remarkable, and in many ways, underrated poet.

  4. Yes I read the Energy of Slaves when I was young too. It was my father’s book, in my case! I was lucky enough to see him live in London last summer at a concert that has since been brought out as a live CD. I recommend this CD – his voice has never been better and songs that have previously sounded (to me at least) a little unimpressive production-wise, such as those off The Future, had a wonderful set of backing voices etc.

  5. I`m still wondering from wich movie the photos are
    Who has an idea? MAny thanks and greetings from Switzerland!

  6. Hey Iva,

    I don’t know whether I should give the game away! Any guesses??

  7. And great to hear that my site is going out to Switzerland!

  8. Since no-one’s guessing anymore …

    It’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers of course!

    Better luck next time!

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