Joan of Arc – Jennifer Warnes & Leonard Cohen


LEONARD COHEN LYRICS

“Joan Of Arc” Lyrics

Now the flames they followed Joan of Arc 
as she came riding through the dark; 
no moon to keep her armour bright, 
no man to get her through this very smoky night. 
She said, “I’m tired of the war, 
I want the kind of work I had before, 
a wedding dress or something white 
to wear upon my swollen appetite.” 
Well, I’m glad to hear you talk this way, 
you know I’ve watched you riding every day 
and something in me yearns to win 
such a cold and lonesome heroine. 
“And who are you?” she sternly spoke 
to the one beneath the smoke. 
“Why, I’m fire,” he replied, 
“And I love your solitude, I love your pride.” 

“Then fire, make your body cold, 
I’m going to give you mine to hold,” 
saying this she climbed inside 
to be his one, to be his only bride. 
And deep into his fiery heart 
he took the dust of Joan of Arc, 
and high above the wedding guests 
he hung the ashes of her wedding dress. 

It was deep into his fiery heart 
he took the dust of Joan of Arc, 
and then she clearly understood 
if he was fire, oh then she must be wood. 
I saw her wince, I saw her cry, 
I saw the glory in her eye. 
Myself I long for love and light, 
but must it come so cruel, and oh so bright?

The story of Joan of Arc is one of the most wonderful stories in the history of any nation of Europe. In the hour of France’s need, when she was being conquered by English armies, when her forces were so divided by civil war that it seemed as if there were no true Frenchmen, but that every lord and district were for themselves, when she had no recognized king, but only an uncrowned Dauphin…….in this hour of her need there appeared for France a Maiden, a deliverer. 

Joan died a cruel death, but the work which she had begun in France did not die with her. She had united the French and they did not fall apart again into quarrelsome factions. King Charles showed a new spirit as he began his reign. Even through the dangers of war he took time to unite his nobles and keep them in order under him. The English were driven out by this newly roused French nation. The Hundred Years’ War was ended, and a peace was concluded by which France was left free within her own provinces, untroubled by foreigners.

Many movies, books, poems, songs have been written on the subject of Joan of Arc. In this video, the Leonard Cohen song, “Joan of Arc” is featured as sung by Jennifer Warnes with several images that are hopefully interwoven to reflect a variety of Joan of Arc facets in the past and in our present day. I chose to focus on the face of Renée Maria Falconetti from the 1928 movie “La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc” -The director, Dreyer, wrote in his “Thoughts on My Craft”, “Nothing in the world can be compared to the human face. It is a land one can never tire of exploring”. Dreyer’s film was a visionary work of art which has to be seen to be appreciated. But, Falconetti’s performance was so intense for her that she suffered a mental breakdown after the filming.

 

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