Story of Isaac
[for Roshashana]
by Leonard Cohen
The door it opened slowly
'My father he came in
I was nine years old.
And he stood so tall above me
blue eyes they were shining
And his voice was very cold.
Said, "I've had a vision,
And you know I'm strong and holy,
I must do what I've been told."
So he started up the mountain
I was running, he was walking
And his axe was made of gold.
The trees they got much smaller,
The lake a lady's mirror
We stopped to drink some wine.
And he threw the bottle over
Broke a minute later
And he put his hand on mine.
Thought I saw an eagle
but it might have been a vulture
I never could decide.
My father built an altar
He looked once behind his shoulder
He knew I would not hide
You who build the altars now
To sacrifice these children
Must not do it any more.
A scheme is not a vision
And you never have been tempted
By a demon or a god.
You who stand above them now
Your hatchets blunt and bloody
You were not there before
When I lay upon the altar
And my Father's hand was trembling
With the beauty of the Word.
You who call me brother now
Forgive me if I inquire
Just according to whose plan.
When it all comes down to dust
I will kill you if I must
or help you if I can.
When it all comes down to dust
I will help you if I must,
kill you if I can.
Mercy on our uniform
Man of peace, man of war,
The peacock spreads his fan.