Ballad Of The Absent Mare

Album: Recent Songs (1979)
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  • Say a prayer for the cowboy
    His mare's run away
    And he'll walk til he finds her
    His darling, his stray
    But the river's in flood
    And the roads are awash
    And the bridges break up
    In the panic of loss.

    And there's nothing to follow
    There's nowhere to go
    She's gone like the summer
    Gone like the snow
    And the crickets are breaking
    His heart with their song
    As the day caves in
    And the night is all wrong

    Did he dream, was it she
    Who went galloping past
    And bent down the fern
    Broke open the grass
    And printed the mud with
    The iron and the gold
    That he nailed to her feet
    When he was the lord

    And although she goes grazing
    A minute away
    He tracks her all night
    He tracks her all day
    Oh blind to her presence
    Except to compare
    His injury here
    With her punishment there

    Then at home on a branch
    In the highest tree
    A songbird sings out
    So suddenly
    Ah the sun is warm
    And the soft winds ride
    On the willow trees
    By the river side

    Oh the world is sweet
    The world is wide
    And she's there where
    The light and the darkness divide
    And the steam's coming off her
    She's huge and she's shy
    And she steps on the moon
    When she paws at the sky

    And she comes to his hand
    But she's not really tame
    She longs to be lost
    He longs for the same
    And she'll bolt and she'll plunge
    Through the first open pass
    To roll and to feed
    In the sweet mountain grass

    Or she'll make a break
    For the high plateau
    Where there's nothing above
    And there's nothing below
    And it's time for the burden
    It's time for the whip
    Will she walk through the flame
    Can he shoot from the hip

    So he binds himself
    To the galloping mare
    And she binds herself
    To the rider there
    And there is no space
    But there's left and right
    And there is no time
    But there's day and night

    And he leans on her neck
    And he whispers low
    "Whither thou goest
    I will go"
    And they turn as one
    And they head for the plain
    No need for the whip
    Ah, no need for the rein

    Now the clasp of this union
    Who fastens it tight?
    Who snaps it asunder
    The very next night
    Some say the rider
    Some say the mare
    Or that love's like the smoke
    Beyond all repair

    But my darling says
    "Leonard, just let it go by
    That old silhouette
    On the great western sky"
    So I pick out a tune
    And they move right along
    And they're gone like the smoke
    And they're gone like this song Writer/s: LEONARD COHEN
    Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind


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