Sunday, July 13, 2008


Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that she's half crazy
But that's why you want to be there

The song was about encountering Suzanne Verdal, the wife of sculptor Armand Vaillancourt, in a Montreal setting.

And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover

Indeed, many lines describe different elements of the city, including its river (the Saint Lawrence) and a little chapel near the harbour, called Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (literally Our Lady of Good Help), which sits on the side of the harbour that faces the rising sun in the morning, as it is described in the song.

Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers

She is now homeless in Venice Beach, California, USA, where she lives in her automobile.

There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror

And you want to travel with her

And you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her

For she's touched your perfect body with her mind.

She says she has met Cohen twice since the song's initial popularity; once after a concert Cohen performed in the 1970s and once in passing in the 1990s where Cohen did not speak to her (and possibly did not recognize her).

And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water

And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors
Until the sea shall free them"
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human

He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone

Leonard Cohen, Suzanne
Wikipedia, Suzanne

When we go to Venice Beach we just rent a bike to make the curves as fast as we can pretending we can't see the rags
on the side....

On the other side Suzanne stares at
potential blind rag dolls cycling away


nijlon said...

Great illustration. I like the use of medium, it looks very foggy. Interesting story.

Aya Rosen said...

I love this song and your illustration to it. It's really great!

maria said...

Thank you!

Alina Chau said...


mam'zelle rouge said...

Wow, fabulous illo ! Sweet. Sensitive. Pretty !

Loni Edwards said...


Edrian Thomidis said...

This is a very nice illustration. I love the expression on her face, the colors and textures that you used.

life without novacaine said...

Just beautiful. Love the colors you selected. Nice job.

Paper Pictures said...

Nice color and texture. Very pretty!