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  • Writer's pictureJustin Key

Behind the Title - Dance Me to the End of Love

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

“Dance Me to the End of Love” - by Leonard Cohen

A spring landscape in Tuscany as dark clouds sit on the horizon while a lone tree sits centered in a field full of red poppies in Italy.

A spontaneous pitstop, one of many, that had delayed our journey to Florence. Spring had arrived in Italy and the landscape was clearly celebrating the season of creation. The Tuscan countryside, seemingly groomed by the souls of a thousand artists, was ripe with natural beauty and my virgin eyes couldn't keep from gawking.

The field of red was a beacon that ushered our car to the side of the road. I hesitated to enter the delicate meadow but, consumed by wonder, was enticed in. Careful of the fragile stems, I made my way through the blooms. A trampled path would surely disrupt the composition I was still surveying for and I could feel the camera begging for a look.

Lost in the sea of red, the fluttering poppy petals were mesmerizing. Like a moth to a flame, the quivering petals had hypnotized me, dragging me deeper and deeper into the field with my eyes pinned to the ground bouncing from one blossom to the next. I analyzed each flower's aesthetics, waiting for the perfect one to introduce the camera to. Eventually, the intoxication wore off as the search for a suitor bore on. Only then did my eye lift long enough to find my muse.

There was tension within it, a mixture of jealousy and lust. It told a story of conflict sewn together by longing and soaked in passion. Two beings, drawn to one another but compelled to push the other away. As my curious mind observed the forms, Leonard Cohen provided the soundtrack to which the story would unravel.

It starts light and breezy as the "la la la las" set the tone for the two lovers but there are undertones hinting at the darkness brewing. When Leonard Cohen begins to sing, his deep voice encourages the two to begin their courtship with a tone as ominous as the storm clouds rolling in. The pair begins with slow but precise movements as they suspiciously feel the other out. There is uneasiness in the air as a romance sparks, neither is willing to surrender to the other but neither will withdraw either.

The dance continues as the love begins to build despite their disfunction. There's clear hesitation from both parties but their tenacious lust clouds their judgment. As Leonard Cohen continues so does their dance. Thunder rumbles in the distance and the world falls still. The once trembling petals now hold their breath in anticipation of the looming storm. The verse ends and the "la la la las" return, this time accompanied by a carnival-like melody as if teasing the imminent demise.

We enter the final verse. The writing seems to be on the wall as the sky grows darker yet the couple refuses to yield. Anger has consumed them now, making their movements aggressive. Their grips are tight, postures firm, eyes fierce. A conclusion is about to be made. As the band cuts out they separate, only a hand is left keeping them together. The moment hangs like Leonard Cohen's last note, their fate set to be sealed as the song fades and the shutter clicks.


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