Saturday, 20 September 2014

You can read their address by the moon

One recent morning, I was tuning in CBC Radio Two because younger daughter likes to listen to music during breakfast before she heads to school.

This song came pouring out and it was one of those surreal moments when I found myself wondering "What is this? Who on earth is singing that?" It's Emmy Lou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, backed up (I believe) by Kate and Anna McGarringle, performing a 1999 cover of Leonard Cohen's "Sisters of Mercy".

I guess I missed it the first time around because 1999 was one of those years.

Oh the sisters of mercy,
they are not departed or gone.
They were waiting for me when I thought
that I just can't go on.
And they brought me their comfort
and later they brought me this song.
Oh I hope you run into them,
you who've been travelling so long.
Yes, you who must leave everything
that you cannot control,
it begins with your family,
but soon it comes around to your soul.
Well, I've been where you're hanging;
I think I can see how you're pinned.
When you're not feeling holy,
your loneliness says that you've sinned.

Well, they lay down beside me;
I made my confession to them.
They touched both my eyes
and I touched the dew on their hem.
If your life is a leaf that the seasons
tear off and condemn,
they will bind you with love
that is graceful and green as a stem.

When I left they were sleeping,
I hope you run into them soon.
Don't turn on the lights;
you can read their address by the moon.
And you won't make me jealous
if I hear that they sweetened your night.
We weren't lovers like that
and besides, it would still be all right.

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