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BIRD ON THE WIRE by Leonard Cohen 




Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

Like a worm on a hook,
like a knight from some old fashioned book 

I have saved all my ribbons for thee.

If I, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by. 

If I, if I have been untrue 

I hope you know it was never to you. 


Like a baby, stillborn, 

like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me.

But I swear by this song 

and by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee.

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch, 

he said to me, "You must not ask for so much." 

And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, "Hey, why not ask for more?" 


Oh like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

A FRIEND'S UMBRELLA by Lawrence Raab 



Ralph Waldo Emerson, toward the end
of his life, found the names
of familiar objects escaping him.
 He wanted to say something about a window, 
or a table, or a book on a table.

But the word wasn't there,
although other words could still suggest
the shape of what he meant.
Then someone, his wife perhaps,

would understand: "Yes, window! I'm sorry,
is there a draft?" He'd nod.
She'd rise. Once a friend dropped by 
to visit, shook out his umbrella
in the hall, remarked upon the rain.

Later the word umbrella
vanished and became
the thing that strangers take away.

Paper, pen, table, book:
was it possible for a man to think
without them? To know 
that he was thinking? We remember
that we forget, he'd written once, 
before he started to forget.

Three times he was told
that Longfellow had died.

Without the past, the present
lay around him like the sea.
Or like a ship, becalmed,
upon the sea. He smiled

to think he was the captain then,
gazing off into whiteness,
waiting for the wind to rise.