What does Waiting for the Miracle mean?

Leonard Cohen: Waiting for the Miracle Meaning

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Album cover for Waiting for the Miracle album cover

Waiting for the Miracle Lyrics

Baby, I've been waiting,
I've been waiting night and day.
I didn't see the time,
I waited half my life away.
There were lots of invitations
and I know you sent me some,
but I was waiting
for the miracle, for the miracle to come.

I know you...

  1. anonymous
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    Feb 23rd 2023 !⃝

    Leonard Cohen spent 5-6 years living at Mt. Baldy Zen Center in California. As someone who spent time living in a Zen Center I think he is talking about that time in his life.No entertainment, punishments were severe! I think the Maestro was the Roshi who Leonard studied with before becoming ordained.

  2. anonymous
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    Sep 26th 2022 !⃝

    To me the song is about a man in prison. He's waited half his life away and you wouldn't like it here, because there ain't no entertainment and the judgements are severe.

  3. anonymous
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    Nov 2nd 2021 !⃝

    I think the miracle is when he would be able to become aware that all is Love; and his own
    persona is only the flow of God going through. All
    we are is God's lila-(play) defined as what? A dramatic presentation or just goofing off for fun?
    I like to think of myself as God experiencing a fun,tragic, or happy emotion. As far as determin-
    ing what God's will is- it's anything that occurs. Get used to it.

  4. anonymous
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    Nov 22nd 2020 !⃝

    As someone who has struggled with depresion for a long phase of his life, this song has always had the implications of a person struggling with this kind of mindset too. When you have a severe depression, the people close to you reach out to you, they show you love and try to help, but somehow you can't feel this emotionally. You feel totally stripped away of love. On a logical standpoint you understand your own situation and you get how absurd your numbness is, but you simply are physically and mentally unable to break free from this state of despair. You are able to analyze your situation perfectly and even might try to escape by making blind effort, but somehow it will not work. You remain trapped in this state, like paralyzed. Beauty can't reach you down there where you are buried ("they say it's Mozart, but to mee it sounds like bubblegum"), and the only thing you can hope for is a miracle to come, that will help you connect with life, beauty, and love once again.

  5. anonymous
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    Sep 8th 2020 !⃝

    For me it sounds like regret. He received invitations and encouragements to do and risk something - also from the person he is waiting for. But instead of trying, he hopes for a miracle, which means that something would just come to him without any effort, like a present out of nowhere. He knows that this means wasting his time. But he hesitates cause it takes courage to face the struggle when he has to be the change (or the "miracle") himself.

  6. anonymous
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    May 27th 2020 !⃝

    Being married to someone who is Jewish, I've always related to this song in a very particular way. I am a pastor in a Christian denomination. I think of my wonderful wife of 29 years who is still waiting for the Messiah to come while we Christians believe the Messiah has already come. I can relate to her on a visceral level that few, if any, of my Christian colleagues can understand. As a dear friend, who himself is religiously and ethnically Jewish, once said to me, "At heart you are Jewish." I take that as a supreme compliment.

  7. anonymous
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    Apr 19th 2020 !⃝

    Cohen is a product of our distorted modern culture Who speaks of the depressed/disconnected plight to the essence of us all. The interrupted natural connection/joining of man/woman is no longer possible under current social norms.....separation from complete simple fullness of life is no longer available to us within our frankenstein created cultural norms. We have sold our life minutes and hours for the hedonistic consummer motivations of a pig. Yes, I can hear the laughter of the devil cracking his whip. Cohen is/was a true prophet our times if we can only learn to hear the essence of his soul wisdom he has given us.

  8. anonymous
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    Dec 5th 2019 !⃝

    it about him living behind the walls of Jericho, looking down at the people with their bugles and their drums... waiting for the miracle to come- the wall to fall down and the afterlife where there aint no entertainment and the punishments are severe...

  9. anonymous
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    Jun 29th 2019 !⃝

    The song is about a man who is waiting for a miracle to come to him and love him. The recent post made a realistic interpretation, he is possibly an actual prisoner, waiting for a miracle that he would be released soon and see the woman he loves and to be with her.

    However, the first interpretation also made a point. Both of them are waiting for each other and both of them love each other. They are the miracle.

    Straight Female

  10. Nata
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    Jun 28th 2019 !⃝

    All my life listening to this song i was imagining a prisoner.Not a figure of speech prisoner of his dreams and desire of perfect love.But a prisoner.Who is waiting for a miracle of freedom,appeal...
    I read all comments regards this song and all wonderfully about LOVE,perfect woman,ideal woman.But still can't shake the image of an actual prison.

  11. anonymous
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    Jul 26th 2017 !⃝

    It seems to me that it's about impotence!

  12. anonymous
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    Oct 14th 2016 !⃝

    About a man in the present moment waiting for his luck to change personally in hope for a miracle to come to him. All the while having a woman that ''loved'' him, but ''was'' kept hungry for a commitment, while playing her drum for him and waiting for her miracle. All for him to marry her that unfortunately never happened to which must've hurt her to leave. But kept themselves together to be finally married ''only in a dream'' he had about her. From the reality with him dreaming about her as the other part of the ''waiting for the miracle'' to come to him as a lover and a healer to comfort him through his sickness of depression. Waiting in limbo reality and assimilating her feelings of him with his thoughts, thinking when he was young during WW2, being robed of his wealth and left starving for a morsle of bread. Now many years later after surviving the war and being in the present time is ''waiting for the miracle''of healing to come to him, along with fame and money owed him. In order for his soul to heal and have a better life. all the while waiting and dreaming for this woman to come back to him.

  13. anonymous
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    Jun 2nd 2015 !⃝

    Initially he was waiting for he knew not what...
    Later he waited more deliberately because he must have received a taste...
    And then even later he seems to have arrived and looking for another whom may also be waiting for they know not what...

  14. anonymous
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    Nov 6th 2013 !⃝

    Nah, I beg to differ. It's about a particular relationship that just never has clicked for him. He was hoping the Hollywood thing would happen, but it never did. She also tried to get him to love her, but it didn't work. He thinks that getting married might improve things, but it doesn't. It's an observation of modern life,typical of L Cohen, played out in many relationships.

  15. anonymous
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    Mar 4th 2012 !⃝

    "Waiting For The Miracle" by Leonard Cohen

    what Baby, I've been waiting,
    I've been waiting night and day.
    I didn't see the time,
    I waited half my life away.
    There were lots of invitations
    and I know you sent me some,
    but I was waiting
    for the miracle, for the miracle to come.
    I know you really loved me.
    but, you see, my hands were tied.
    I know it must have hurt you,
    it must have hurt your pride
    to have to stand beneath my window
    with your bugle and your drum,
    and me I'm up there waiting
    for the miracle, for the miracle to come.

    He is waitiiinngg for his miracle which means The Love Of His Life to come to him. He believes she is trying to reach him somehow. He has been waiting for half of his life for her. It seems like he has been waiting FOREVER. He has received plenty of invitations in his life for parties, coffees, various ladies gatherings and sporting events but HE WANTS HER. He knows they really loved each other and still do, but his hands were tied up somehow with some string. It must have been difficult for her to deal with all of that disordered, chaotic & confused shackled mess. She was committed... She stood under his window and sang to him, many times. Sometimes she would bring whimsical instruments to blow and beat in his direction. He just wishes she would SOMEHOW breeze into his life for good.

    Ah I don't believe you'd like it,
    You wouldn't like it here.
    There ain't no entertainment
    and the judgements are severe.
    The Maestro says it's Mozart
    but it sounds like bubble gum
    when you're waiting
    for the miracle, for the miracle to come.

    He sits alone in his house of dashed hopes. Even tho' his love wouldn't enjoy it there with him, this makes it very boring for him because no one is around. He spends his time watching a Showtime series which has now become his major addiction. He is worried that friends are going to send him to treatment -again- for his new obsession with his favourite show. This time it might be legit. He feels as if everyone has purposely ditched him and they are shitwads because they are judging him by doing things like calling his therapist. Or they are giving him really strange looks when he goes to buy his soup at the grocery store. They also are somehow spying on him. He looks for microphones in cupboards and talks to himself, aka "them", while he is in the bathtub because he thinks they have hidden a camera in there. He puts in his CD of Mozart for the Mind.. He thinks it is supposed to beef up his mathematical skills and it ain't dun junkin EF for his head. He feels like his brain is blowing bubbles. He's waiting for his woman, THE MIRACLE, to come to him.

    Waiting for the miracle
    There's nothing left to do.
    I haven't been this happy
    since the end of World War II.

    He is waiting for her and he thinks she is going to appear to him. He is excited... He was absolutely giddy after the end of WW II. He didn't like Hitler. He thought he was a rigid-type dictator.

    Nothing left to do
    when you know that you've been taken.
    Nothing left to do
    when you're begging for a crumb
    Nothing left to do
    when you've got to go on waiting
    waiting for the miracle to come.

    He thinks his Love has taken his whole package deal away from his essence; his heart, his mind, his lungs, his hood ornament, his mechanicals and privacies. All of it - GONE. He is super hungry now... He looks on the floor for morsels of any old leftovers. He eats dog hair. He keeps WAITING FOR HIS MIRACLE....

    I dreamed about you, baby.
    It was just the other night.
    Most of you was naked
    Ah but some of you was light.
    The sands of time were falling
    from your fingers and your thumb,
    and you were waiting
    for the miracle, for the miracle to come

    He dreamt she was partially naked. Her elbows and face were exposed. It was a highly erotic fantasy. The rest of her was covered in a light akin to a blasting lightbulb where he had to squint and his eyeballs felt punctured by the luminous, blazing highbeam. She had sand flying out of her hands. It represents a hot & dirty environment. She is a desert hoarder and he loves this about her. Her exciting nudity combined with the sand reveals to him that SHE too IS WAITING FOR HIM. HE IS HER MIRACLE. SHE WANTS HIM TO COME TO HER! This was his dream, but he knows that it is true.

    Ah baby, let's get married,
    we've been alone too long.
    Let's be alone together.
    Let's see if we're that strong.
    Yeah let's do something crazy,
    something absolutely wrong
    while we're waiting
    for the miracle, for the miracle to come.

    HE WANTS TO MARRY HER. They have been alone for too long. Well, at least HE has.. Maybe she is with a mob of people, but he wants to be with HER FOREVER and to see the mob a lot. He is suggesting that they give their life together a try. He thinks it will work because they are both delusional & strong. It is a funny verse because he is saying "let's do something really naughty while we wait for our miracle" but THEY ARE THE MIRACLE!

    Nothing left to do ...

    He can't do anything more to make it happen. He has exposed himself.

    When you've fallen on the highway
    and you're lying in the rain,
    and they ask you how you're doing
    of course you'll say you can't complain --
    If you're squeezed for information,
    that's when you've got to play it dumb:
    You just say you're out there waiting
    for the miracle, for the miracle to come.

    Here he is explaining that he has been through a lot while he waited for her.. He fell down on the highway that one time and screamed at the voices in his head. Part of the reason this happened was because his windshield had shattered.. He was lying down on the side of the highway and it was raining. A few friendly samaritans stopped their cars to ask him how he was doing.. He sat up and said, "Oh me? Fine thanks. The better question is, How are YOU?" He never wanted to complain about the torture he endured while he waited for her. When he did, he was called "a freak". He is worried that he might be interrogated about it all AGAIN in which case he realizes he enjoys playing the buffoon. If people ask him again- whether on the highway, in a mental ward or wherever he may roam- what the hell he is doing, he will say, "I AM JUST WAITING FOR MY MIRACLE TO COME". The truth will shut them up.

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