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Leonard Cohen – Who By Fire lyrics

And who by fire, who by water,
Who in the sunshine, who in the night time,
Who by high ordeal, who by common trial,
Who in your merry merry month of may,
Who by very slow decay,
And who shall I say is calling?

And who in her lonely slip, who by barbiturate,
Who in these realms of love, who by something blunt,
And who by avalanche, who by powder,
Who for his greed, who for his hunger,
And who shall I say is calling?

And who by brave assent, who by accident,
Who in solitude, who in this mirror,
Who by his lady's command, who by his own hand,
Who in mortal chains, who in power,
And who shall I say is calling?

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Music Facts about Leonard Cohen and "Who By Fire" song

Who By Fire meanings

  • u
    Just to add to what I just said when Leonard is saying who in daytime who in nighttime who in merry month of may I see it as people die during the day or at night or in may or any month it makes no difference to when or how a person dies no matter what time of day or the circumstances it ultimately does not change the fact that when you die however you may die you are and will remain dead and what is and will b more important is who you were and how you were so when he is saying who should I say is calling its like being at heavens gates and how you died isn't important he wants to know who you are cos that's who you were, I hope I'm making sense I know I waffle on and apologise for that.
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  • u
    I think its all about different ways of dying be it being burned by fire drowned in water by his own hands meaning suicide by greed like being obese and having heart attack or by hunger as in starvation or who in daytime or nighttime who in solitude dying alone or killed in an avalanche or overdosing on drugs as in barbiturates but ultimately it doesn't matter how a person has died in the end cos death is death and I think when he says who should I say is calling is meaning it doesn't matter if you died in any of the ways he just mentioned its who are you the person you were cos no matter how you may die it doesn't change the person you were.
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  • u
    I don't fully understand, but I love the contrasts, who by avalanche, who by powder, I think this is expressing the difference between trying a substance and getting buried in it, trapped in an avalanche of powder. Who? I think it suggests who, been set free in one way or an other, whether positive or negative. I feel there is maybe tree or more treads running trough this one, some about being saved from substance, the others are a little more vague, but when Cohen performs you could honestly tell yourself, he has catered this beautiful peace just for you (me). His poetry is beautiful but when he performs it, it takes another dimension, because the feelings he puts into each word, lets you know where he is being sincere, sarcastic, or jibing. He has changed how I perceive the world entirely, relationships etc.
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  • u
    It is so much more than the surface of "ways of dying". Mostly it is ways of living/the whole make up of a human life and the choices we all make, some being the same destructive ones over and over. Now, go for it. There is always more to the poem!
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