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Last Year’s Man Lyrics

Last Year’s Man Lyrics Sung by Leonard Cohen

(scroll down to watch the video)

The rain falls down on last year’s man,
That’s a Jew’s harp on the table,
That’s a crayon in his hand.
And the corners of the blueprint are ruined since they rolled
Far past the stems of thumbtacks
That still throw shadows on the wood.
And the skylight is like skin for a drum I’ll never mend
And all the rain falls down amen
On the works of last year’s man.

I met a lady, she was playing with her soldiers in the dark
Oh one by one she had to tell them
That her name was Joan of Arc.
I was in that army, yes I stayed a little while;
I want to thank you, Joan of Arc,
For treating me so well.
And though I wear a uniform I was not born to fight;
All these wounded boys you lie beside,
Goodnight, my friends, goodnight.

I came upon a wedding that old families had contrived;
Bethlehem the bridegroom,
Babylon the bride.
Great Babylon was naked, oh she stood there trembling for me,
And Bethlehem inflamed us both
Like the shy one at some orgy.
And when we fell together all our flesh was like a veil
That I had to draw aside to see
The serpent eat its tail.

Some women wait for Jesus, and some women wait for Cain
So I hang upon my altar
And I voice my acts again.
And I take the one who finds me back to where it all began
When Jesus was the honeymoon
And Cain was just the man.
And we read from pleasant Bibles that are bound in blood and skin
That the wilderness is gathering
All its children back again.

The rain falls down on last year’s man,
An hour has gone by
And he has not moved his hand.
But everything will happen if he only gives the word;
The lovers will rise up
And the mountains touch the ground.
But the skylight is like skin for a drum I’ll never mend
and all the rain falls down amen
on the works of last year’s man.

Enjoy This Video of Last Year’s Man Lyrics Sung by Leonard Cohen

Some Interesting Facts and Insight About Last Year’s Man Lyrics

Last year’s man lyrics has an interesting title. Is it like last year’s fashion? Something that seems outdated? A man who had been popular or famous, but is no longer being appreciated anymore? To begin with, we are introduced to a man, probably an artist and singer who wants to get himself started creating something. But everything around him is depressing and only a shadow of the beauty it once had.

In the next lines, the first person narrator gives up his distance – he is the last year’s man. On hearing “the skylight is like skin for a drum I’ll never mend and all the rain falls down”, you can now figure out why it the “rain falls down on last year’s man” … not only is the furniture dingy, but also the roof of the house is also leaking.

Introduced to this atmosphere, it is not hard to imagine the singer sitting there and letting his thoughts wander:

Joan of Arc was a French virgin fighting against the English. She was eventually burnt at the stake. With this in mind, one might guess that he speaks about a woman who many men (the narrator amongst them) had admired and had been willing to follow (“soldiers”, “I was in that army”). Although he regards this woman with great estem, unfortunately, they just hadn’t been right for each other (“And though I wear a uniform, I was not born to fight”).

The poet’s thoughts then shift to another story he had once lived – again reminding him of historical imagery. He thinks of Bethlehem (the “bridegroom”) and Babylon (the “bride”). Babylon as a symbol for immorality while Bethlehem, being the place where Jesus was born, conjures up notions of goodness and new hope. It appears as he had been in an illicit relationship with a woman, perhaps someone who was unhappy in her marriage because it had been forced on them by their families. Whatever the reasons might have been for this infatuation, in the end, the poet sees clearer that it had only been a repeat of a never ending story (“And when we fell together all our flesh was like a veil that I had to draw aside to see the serpent eat its tail”).

Again, change of scenery; now without images, just thoughts running through his head:

“Some women wait for Jesus, and some women wait for Cain”; every women has a different taste in men, therefore, the narrator concludes that most relationships are not meant to be forever – but one day, there will be the right one for him with whom he will go back to “where it all began”.

The song concludes with an abrupt recall that in reality nothing has happened. “An hour has gone by and he has not moved his hand”. The poet can still pretend to himself that everything is already there in his mind, he only has to start writing/painting… But then there it is again: the feeling of depression (“all the rain falls down”) and apathy. Who doesn’t recognize this situation? You planned to get so much work done, but then in the end, you just have been lazing around not doing anything productive.

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