Music Monday: “The Partisan” by Leonard Cohen


Music Monday is a meme, created by Drew at The Tattooed Book Geek, where I focus on a song I absolutely love and feel needs to be shared.

Song: “The Partisan”
Artist: Leonard Cohen
Album: The Best of Leonard Cohen (1975)

Lyrics taken from

When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender
This I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished

I have changed my name so often
I’ve lost my wife and children
But I have many friend
And some of them are with me

An old woman gave us shelter
Kept us hidden in the garret
Then the soldiers came;
She died without a whisper

There were three of us this morning
I’m the only one this evening
But I must go on;
The frontiers are my prison

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing
Through the graves the wind is blowing
Freedom soon will come;
Then we’ll come from the shadows

Les Allemands étaient chez moi
Ils me dirent, “Signe toi,”
Mais je n’ai pas peur;
J’ai repris mon arme

J’ai changé cent fois de nom
J’ai perdu femme et enfants
Mais j’ai tant d’amis;
J’ai la France entière

Un vieil homme dans un grenier
Pour la nuit nous a caché
Les Allemands l’ont pris;
Il est mort sans surprise

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing
Through the graves the wind is blowing
Freedom will soon come;
Then we’ll come from the shadows

The late, great Leonard Cohen helped popularize this version of the French song, “The Partisan”, which describes the occupation of one’s homeland. However, in this English translation, there are no references to the original song’s inspiration which came from the French resistance to the Nazis. Cohen’s deep, voice is carried atop hypnotic acoustic guitar before being joined by a choir during the verses sung in French. I first heard this song as part of the soundtrack of Taika Waititi’s The Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016), where it plays during a montage of the protagonists being hunted by the authorities during the winter months of New Zealand and quickly had to find out what it was so I could listen to it again.

The image used in this post can be found through the hyperlink below.

5 thoughts on “Music Monday: “The Partisan” by Leonard Cohen

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