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Here Are Some Of Our Favourite Leonard Cohen Lyrics

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    Today we lost the incomparable Leonard Cohen, a man capable of revealing truths so beautiful they could wound you. Obsessed with love, darkness, women, he wrote with passion as much as with malevolence. Has any other songwriter managed to convey the human condition so honestly and with such rawness?

    Many might know him for his huge song "Hallelujah", covered by everyone from Jeff Buckley to Regina Spektor. Others might be familiar with perhaps his most famous lyric, from "Anthem": "Ring the bells that still can ring/ Forget your perfect offering/ There is a crack in everything/ That's how the light gets in."

    Here, some of the staff at Refinery29 UK recall their favourite Cohen lyric, and why it means so much to them.

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    So Long, Marianne

    "We met when we were almost young
    Deep in the green lilac park.
    You held on to me like I was a crucifix,
    As we went kneeling through the dark."


    The idea of holding onto someone as if they are your saviour really struck me. The hallmark of many a doomed relationship. But he handles it with sensitivity and a sense of humour. This verse is just perfect.

    Added poignancy given his muse, Marianne Ihlen, died recently – and the letter he wrote her just before she passed: "Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine... Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road." Apparently Marianne stretched out her hand as it was read to her. Then died two days later.

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    Famous Blue Raincoat

    "Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyes
    I thought it was there for good so I never tried”


    This is my sister’s favourite song, and these lines always make me think of her because she has a lot of trouble in her eyes, and after hearing these lyrics, I realised that she’s hoping someone will take it away for her. I think that’s the great love she’s looking for. The thanks part would be thanking that person for taking it away.

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    Anthem

    "The birds they sang at the break of day
    'Start again', I heard them say
    Don't dwell on what has passed away
    Or what is yet to be"


    I am, at times, quite the pessimist. I often tend to wake up with something on my mind and not let it go for the rest of the day (or week). These lyrics remind me to get the fuck over it. Granted that doesn’t always happen, but they do help.

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    Everybody Knows

    "Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
    Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
    Everybody knows the war is over
    Everybody knows the good guys lost
    Everybody knows the fight was fixed
    The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
    That's how it goes
    Everybody knows"


    Not really the most shattering of his lyrics but particularly prescient because of this week, don't you think? God, he was good.

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    Dance Me To The End Of Love

    "Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
    Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
    We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above
    Dance me to the end of love"


    Listening to lyrics like these as a younger girl meant that my expectations of "love" were rather high. I would look at my parents' wonderful relationship (and still do) and hope that love like that would come true for me. I reckon they will dance to the end of love.