Happens to the Heart

Leonard Cohen 1934 - 2016

I was always working steady
But I never called it art
I was funding my depression
Meeting Jesus reading Marx
Sure it failed my little fire
But it’s bright the dying spark
Go tell the young messiah
What happens to the heart

There’s a mist of summer kisses
Where I tried to double-park
The rivalry was vicious
And the women were in charge
It was nothing, it was business
But it left an ugly mark
So I’ve come here to revisit
What happens to the Heart

I was selling holy trinkets
I was dressing kind of sharp
Had a pussy in the kitchen
And a panther in the yard
In the prison of the gifted
I was friendly with the guard
So I never had to witness
What happens to the Heart

I should have seen it coming
You could say I wrote the chart
Just to look at her was trouble
It was trouble from the start
Sure we played a stunning couple
But I never liked the part
It ain't pretty, it ain't subtle
What happens to the Heart

Now the angel's got a fiddle
And the devil’s got a harp
Every soul is like a minnow
Every mind is like a shark
I've opened every window
But the house, the house is dark
Just say Uncle, then it's simple
What happens to the heart

I was always working steady
But I never called it art
The slaves were there already
The singers chained and charred
Now the arc of justice bending
And the injured soon to march
I lost my job defending
What happens to the Heart

I studied with this beggar
He was filthy he was scarred
By the claws of many women
He had failed to disregard
No fable here no lesson
No singing meadowlark
Just a filthy beggar blessing
What happens to the heart

I was always working steady
But I never called it art
I could lift, but nothing heavy
Almost lost my union card
I was handy with a rifle
My father's .303 We fought for something final
Not the right to disagree

Sure it failed my little fire
But it's bright the dying spark
Go tell the young messiah
What happens to the heart
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Submitted by Robert_Haigh on June 15, 2020

34 Views

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Norman Cohen was a highly gifted and varied writer — novelist, playright, songwriter and poet. He was already quite famous as a poet before embarking on a music career as a singer-songwriter. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest songwriters of all time, and his songs have been recorded by countless other performers. Born in Montreal, Canada, in 1934, Cohen had a long and productive career. He was working right up to his death, in 2016 at the age of 82. more…

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"Happens to the Heart" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 3 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/53724/happens-to-the-heart>.

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