God is Alive, Magic is Afoot

DAILY MUSE | Recently I awoke very early one morning to my alarm clock radio playing Buffy Sainte Marie singing lyrics by Leonard Cohen– “God is Alive, Magic is Afoot. This stunning song literally stunned me awake. I’ve never heard anything quite like it– very creative sund interpretation of stunning lyrics.

Download it on iTunes here (version 1) (version 2)

Lyrics and other links below the fold.

 

1…

God is alive; Magic is afoot
God is alive; Magic is afoot
God is afoot; Magic is alive
Alive is afoot…..Magic never died.

God never sickened;
many poor men lied
many sick men lied
Magic never weakened
Magic never hid
Magic always ruled
God is afoot
God never died.

God was ruler
though his funeral lengthened
Though his mourners thickened
Magic never fled
Though his shrouds were hoisted
the naked God did live
Though his words were twisted
the naked Magic thrived
Though his death was published
round and round the world
the heart did not believe

Many hurt men wondered
many struck men bled
Magic never faltered
Magic always led.
Many stones were rolled
but God would not lie down
Many wild men lied
many fat men listened
Though they offered stones
Magic still was fed
Though they locked their coffers
God was always served.

2..

Magic is afoot. God rules.
Alive is afoot. Alive is in command.
Many weak men hungered
Many strong men thrived
Though they boasted solitude
God was at their side
Nor the dreamer in his cell
nor the captain on the hill
Magic is alive
Though his death was pardoned
round and round the world
the heart did not believe.

Though laws were carved in marble
they could not shelter men
Though altars built in parliaments
they could not order men
Police arrested Magic
and Magic went with them,
for Magic loves the hungry.

But Magic would not tarry
it moves from arm to arm
it would not stay with them
Magic is afoot
it cannot come to harm
it rests in an empty palm
it spawns in an empty mind
but Magic is no instrument
Magic is the end.

Many men drove Magic
but Magic stayed behind
Many strong men lied
they only passed through Magic
and out the other side
Many weak men lied
they came to God in secret
and though they left him nourished
they would not say who healed
Though mountains danced before them
they said that God was dead
Though his shrouds were hoisted
the naked God did live

3…

This I mean to whisper to my mind
This I mean to laugh with in my mind
This I mean my mind to serve ’til
service is but Magic
moving through the world
and mind itself is Magic
coursing through the flesh
and flesh itself is Magic
dancing on a clock
and time itself the magic length of God.

 

words: Leonard Cohen
music: Buffy Sainte-Marie
© Stranger Music, Inc./Caleb Music-ASCAP

Commentary by Buffy Sainte-Marie: Leonard Cohen’s book “Beautiful Losers” stole my heart in 1963 and so did the idea of electronic processing on a vocal record.

I had a recording session scheduled and Leonard was in town. I propped two pages of his book up on a music stand and I just sang it out, ad libbing the melody and guitar music together as I went along. I’ve always wanted to re-record it, as I love the way the power of the words obviously commands the music and drives it beyond any consideration of time signature.

Leonard Cohen

Buffy Sainte Marie, website
Buffy Sainte Marie, wikipedia entry

Leonard Cohen, wikipedia entry

Leonard Cohen, website

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