Archive for July 13, 2008

November, 1969. Songs From a Room

Posted in Art, music, writing with tags , , , , on July 13, 2008 by darcyarts

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When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
this I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.
I have changed my name so often,
I’ve lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me.

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Alone in the farm house the words rang like finely tuned wooden bells. Simple, honest, heavy, and the story teller’s voice laced with gravitas seemed to say “Here is some history for you.”

His tone, understated, implied that I could take it or leave it. The pictures filled my head. 

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An old woman gave us shelter,
kept us hidden in the garret,
then the soldiers came;
she died without a whisper.

There were three of us this morning
I’m the only one this evening
but I must go on;
the frontiers are my prison.

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This person is engaged in a struggle. It was clear and the words were so simple. I was taken far off to the place where they huddled in a foggy patch of grass. This was an earnest gift wrapped with a sorrowful ribbon.

The story teller continued:
Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.

Then the mournful French song began:
Les Allemands e’taient chez moi, (The Germans were at my home)
ils me dirent, “Signe toi,” (They said, “Sign yourself,”)
mais je n’ai pas peur; (But I am not afraid)
j’ai repris mon arme. (I have retaken my weapon.)

J’ai change’ cent fois de nom, (I have changed names a hundred times)
j’ai perdu femme et enfants (I have lost wife and children)
mais j’ai tant d’amis; (But I have so many friends)
j’ai la France entie`re. (I have all of France)

Un vieil homme dans un grenier (An old man, in an attic)
pour la nuit nous a cache’, (Hid us for the night)
les Allemands l’ont pris; (The Germans captured him)
il est mort sans surprise. (He died without surprise.)

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.

Leonard Cohen, “The Partisan” from Songs From a Room

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A page on Resistance Fighters.

If you haven’t yet seen Pan’s Labyrinth.

 

More autobiography tommorrow.

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