Leonard Cohen

The Captain

Now the Captain called me to his bed He fumbled for my hand "Take these silver bars," he said "I'm giving you command." "Command of what, there's no one here There's only you and me -- All the rest are dead or in retreat Or with the enemy." "Complain, complain, that's all you've done Ever since we lost If it's not the Crucifixion Then it's the Holocaust." "May Christ have mercy on your soul For making such a joke Amid these hearts that burn like coal And the flesh that rose like smoke." "I know that you have suffered, lad But suffer this awhile: Whatever makes a soldier sad Will make a killer smile." "I'm leaving, Captain, I've got to go There's blood upon your hand But tell me, Captain, if you know Of a decent place to stand." "There is no decent place to stand In a massacre; But if a woman take your hand Then go and stand with her." "I left a wife in Tennessee And my baby in Saigon -- I risked my life, but not to hear Some country-western song." "Ah but if you cannot raise your love To a very high degree Then you're just the man I've been thinking of -- So come and stand with me." "Your standing days are done," I cried "You'll rally me no more I don't even know what side We fought on, or what for." "I'm on the side that's always lost Against the side of Heaven I'm on the side of snake-eyes tossed Against the side of seven And I've read the Bill of Human Rights And some of it was true But there wasn't any burden left So I'm laying it on you." Now the Captain he was dying But the Captain wasn't hurt The silver bars were in my hand I pinned them to my shirt

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