Joan Of Arc
Lyrics Leonard Cohen

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Now the flames they followed Joan of Arc
as she came riding through the dark;
no moon to keep her armour bright,
no man to get her through this very smoky night.
She said, "I'm tired of the war,
I want the kind of work I had before,
a wedding dress or something white
to wear upon my swollen appetite."

Well, I'm glad to hear you talk this way,
you know I've watched you riding every day
and something in me yearns to win
such a cold and lonesome heroine.
"And who are you?" she sternly spoke
to the one beneath the smoke.
"Why, I'm fire," he replied,
"And I love your solitude, I love your pride."

"Then fire, make your body cold,
I'm going to give you mine to hold,"
saying this she climbed inside
to be his one, to be his only bride.
And deep into his fiery heart
he took the dust of Joan of Arc,
and high above the wedding guests
he hung the ashes of her wedding dress.

It was deep into his fiery heart
he took the dust of Joan of Arc,
and then she clearly understood
if he was fire, oh then she must be wood.
I saw her wince, I saw her cry,
I saw the glory in her eye.
Myself I long for love and light,
but must it come so cruel, and oh so bright?

Song facts

"Joan of Arc" is a song by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. It was released as a single in March 1971 from his third album, Songs of Love and Hate.

The song is constructed mainly as a dialogue between Joan of Arc and the fire which is consuming her as she burns at the stake, after having being found guilty of heresy (in 1431). In the song, Joan says that she is "tired of the war" and tells how she would rather be wearing a white wedding dress (one of the charges against her was that she dressed as a man). Joan's surrender to the fire, as its bride, may also be seen as a symbol of her religious fervor and commitment.

This song was apparently inspired by Cohen's love for the German model Nico. It has also been noted that the structure in which the song is both sung and recited on parallel tracks (most obvious in the first and last four lines) was inspired by Medieval palimpsests.

Jennifer Warnes covered the song on Famous Blue Raincoat; a bonus live version was added to the 20th anniversary re-issue of the same album. Italian singer-songwriter Fabrizio de André wrote "Giovanna d'Arco", an Italian translation of "Joan of Arc", and included it in his 1974 album "Canzoni".

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