Leonard Cohen's

Night Comes On

©Leonard Cohen, released 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 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

Remember, my son, how they lied

And the night comes on

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

When 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 and 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