«Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long»

Dance Me To The End Of Love… it’s curious how songs begin because the origin of the song, every song, has a kind of grain or seed that somebody hands you or the world hands you and that’s why the process is so mysterious about writing a song. But that came from just hearing or reading or knowing that in the death camps, beside the crematoria, in certain of the death camps, a string quartet was pressed into performance while this horror was going on, those were the people whose fate was this horror also. And they would be playing classical music while their fellow prisoners were being killed and burnt. So, that music, «Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin» meaning the beauty there of being the consummation of life, the end of this existence and of the passionate element in that consummation. But, it is the same language that we use for surrender to the beloved, so that the song — it’s not important that anybody knows the genesis of it, because if the language comes from that passionate resource, it will be able to embrace all passionate activity.

Leonard Cohen, Dance me to the end of love (1994)

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin 
dance me through the panic ‘til I’m gathered safely in 
lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove 
dance me to the end of love 
dance me to the end of love 

Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone 
let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon 
show me slowly what I only know the limits of 
dance me to the end of love 
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 
dance me to the end of love 

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born 
dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn 
raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn 
dance me to the end of love 

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin 
dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in 
touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove 
dance me to the end of love 
dance me to the end of love 
dance me to the end of love

Schermata 2013-11-03 a 11.50.09