The Stranger

 

Leonard Cohen – The Stranger Song (1967)

 

It's true that all the men you knew were dealers [Kartenverteiler beim Pokern]
who said they were through with dealing
every time you gave them shelter [Zuflucht, Beschirmung].
I know that kind of man.
It's hard to hold the hand of anyone
who is reaching for the sky just to surrender.
who is reaching for the sky just to surrender.

 

And then sweeping up [auffegen] the jokers that he left behind
you find he did not leave you very much,
not even laughter.
Like any dealer he was watching for the card
that is so high and wild
he'll never need to deal another.
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger [Futtertrog].
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger.


And then leaning on your window sill [Fensterbank]
he'll say one day you caused his will
to weaken with your love, and warmth and shelter.
And then taking from his wallet [Brieftasche]
an old schedule [Fahrplan] of trains, he'll say,
I told you when I came I was a stranger.
I told you when I came I was a stranger.


But now another stranger seems
to want you to ignore his dreams,
as though they were the burden [Last] of some other.
Oh you've seen that man before,
his golden arm dispatching [verteilen] cards,
but now it's rusted from the elbow to the finger.
And he wants to trade [austauschen] the game he plays, for shelter.
Yes, he wants to trade the game he knows, for shelter.

Now you hate to watch another tired man
lay down his hand,
like he was giving up the Holy Game of Poker.
And while he talks his dreams to sleep,
you notice there's a Highway
that is curling up like smoke above his shoulder.
It's curling just like smoke above his shoulder.

You tell him to come in, sit down,
but something makes you turn around.
The door is open. You can't close your shelter.
You try the handle of the road [Türknauf zur Straße?].
It opens. Do not be afraid.
It's you my love, you who are the stranger.
And it’s you my love, you who are the stranger.
 

Well, I have been waiting, I was sure
we'd meet between the trains we're waiting for,
I think it's time to board another [einen anderen Zug zu besteigen?].
Please understand I never had a secret chart [eine geheime Tabelle, Geheimplan?]
to get me to the heart of this,
or any other matter.
When he talks like this, you don't know what he's after.
When he speaks like this, you don't know what he's after.

Let's meet tomorrow if you choose,
upon the shore [am Ufer], beneath [unter] the bridge,
that they are building on some endless river.
Then he leaves the platform
for the sleeping car that's warm,
you realize, he's only advertising [Werbung ausschreiben] one more shelter.
And it comes to you, he never was a stranger.
And you say, "Ok, the bridge, or someplace later."

And then sweeping up [aufkehren] the jokers that he left behind
you find he did not leave you very much,
not even laughter.
Like any dealer he was watching for the card
that is so high and wild
he'll never need to deal another.
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger..
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger.


And leaning on your window sill
he'll say one day you caused his will
to weaken with your love, and warmth and shelter.
And then taking from his wallet
an old schedule of trains, he'll say,
I told you when I came I was a stranger.

I told you when I came I was a stranger.

I told you when I came I was a stranger.

 

 

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Kommentar:

Eine interessante enigmatische Ballade bzgl. Männern, die einerseits eine feste Beziehung haben wollen, andererseits dennoch immer wieder auf der Suche nach was Neuem sind.

Das Wechselspiel zwischen solch einem interessanten Archetyp von Mann und der von ihm archetypisch faszinierten Frau versucht Cohen meisterhaft mit seiner lyrischen Symbolik einzufangen.

Interessant ist nämlich auch die Frage: wer ist denn nun der Stranger? Sie oder er oder beide?

 

 

 

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