Dance Me to the End of Love – Leonard Cohen – Analysis

Dance Me to the End of Love

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Oh, let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We’re both of us beneath our love, we’re both of us above
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Leonard Cohen (1934 – 2016)

This is a marvellous poem about love over time … lifelong partnership … and seeing love as endless and beauty undiminished.

Looking at the repeated lines (14)…
Dance me to the end of love (a=10 repeats, also the title) … to the end of love … to the end of life … be with me always is implied
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin (b=2) … beauty (seeing your beauty always) … the burning violin is the music of love … ‘burning alludes’ to time as well as the dramatic playing of the instrument
Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in(c=2)
… there is a bit of a ‘panic’ at the end of life … see me through that time – to be ‘gathered safely in’

11 unique lines (u)
Looking at three of these …
Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn

… we have come through the wedding time … now the time for children … and then the kisses have lasted while the curtains have not … shelter is needed now … perhaps alluding to a different shelter needed with old age

Looking at the structure … twenty five lines – bc u aa uuu aa uuu aa uuu a bc u aaa (where a,b, and c are the repeat lines and u the unique) … and looking at how the lines rhyme … aa bbb cc d aa cc bbb eee b aa bbbb

To hear Leonard Cohen sing these words adds another dimension altogether – here is a YouTube link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGorjBVag0I

After hearing LC the words themselves become insufficient and you will probably always want to see and hear him.

Leonard Cohen on Wikipedia