Song Lyric Sunday: Drifters – ‘The Stranger Song’

I’ve categorised Jim’s prompts for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday as having the overall theme of ‘Drifters’, as that seems to encompass the specific trigger words of drifter, loner, transient and vagabond

Anyway, this is the first song that came into my mind for this time.

It’s true that all the men you knew were dealers
Who said they were through with dealing
Every time you gave them shelter
I know that kind of man
It’s hard to hold the hand of anyone
Who is reaching for the sky just to surrender
Who is reaching for the sky just to surrender

And then sweeping up the jokers that he left behind
You find he did not leave you very much
Not even laughter
Like any dealer he was watching for the card
That is so high and wild
He’ll never need to deal another
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger

And then leaning on your window sill
He’ll say one day you caused his will
To weaken with your love and warmth and shelter
And then taking from his wallet
An old schedule of trains, he’ll say
I told you when I came I was a stranger
I told you when I came I was a stranger

But now another stranger seems
To want you to ignore his dreams
As though they were the burden of some other
Oh, you’ve seen that man before
His golden arm dispatching cards
But now it’s rusted from the elbow to the finger
And he wants to trade the game he plays for shelter
Yes, he wants to trade the game he knows for shelter

Ah, you hate to watch another tired man
Lay down his hand
Like he was giving up the holy game of poker
And while he talks his dreams to sleep
You notice there’s a highway
That is curling up like smoke above his shoulder
It’s curling just like smoke above his shoulder

You tell him to come in, sit down
But something makes you turn around
The door is open, you can’t close your shelter
You try the handle of the road
It opens, do not be afraid
It’s you my love, you who are the stranger
It is you my love, you who are the stranger

Well, I’ve been waiting, I was sure
We’d meet between the trains we’re waiting for
I think it’s time to board another
Please understand, I never had a secret chart
To get me to the heart of this
Or any other matter
While he talks like this, you don’t know what he’s after
When he speaks like this, you don’t know what he’s after

Let’s meet tomorrow if you choose
Upon the shore, beneath the bridge
That they are building on some endless river
Then he leaves the platform
For the sleeping car that’s warm
You realize, he’s only advertising one more shelter
And it comes to you, he never was a stranger
And you say, “OK, the bridge or some place later.”

And then sweeping up the jokers that he left behind
You find he did not leave you very much
Not even laughter
Like any dealer he was watching for the card
That is so high and wild
He’ll never need to deal another
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger

And leaning on your window sill
He’ll say one day you caused his will
To weaken with your love and warmth and shelter
And then taking from his wallet
An old schedule of trains, he’ll say
I told you when I came I was a stranger
I told you when I came I was a stranger
I told you when I came I was a stranger

Written by Leonard Cohen

Song Lyric Sunday 13 October 2019

2 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: Drifters – ‘The Stranger Song’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.