Bird on the Wire

“Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir,
I have tried in my way to be free.”


Hace unos días, a raíz de la muerte de Bobby Fischer, escribí unas líneas recordando lo que él produjo en mi infancia y la fascinación por el ajedrez de aquel momento y recordaba las interminables siestas en mi pueblo ensayando jugadas y tratando de aprender un poquito de ese mundo.

Hace dos días recibí un llamado avisándome del fallecimiento del padre de mi mejor amigo de aquellos (y estos) años. Ese señor que estará siempre estrechamente ligado a mi niñez se
llamaba (y se llama) “Nito” Solé. Nito y su almacén de ramos generales “El Aguila” en Villa Duffy. Justamente Nito Solé era quien nos enseñaba y nos desafiaba en esas siestas con el tablero de ajedrez.

Corrí a Rosario para acompañar unas horas a Guillermo en su dolor y estar otra vez con gente que fue tan importante en mi infancia en Juncal.



Luego fui a deambular por Rosario, una ciudad que fue mía durante mucho tiempo y que creo que la conozco más de noche que de día. Necesitaba acompañar ese día especial con un poco de melancolía y me dije, “necesito un poco de Leonard Cohen”, así que entré a una disquería (al mismo tiempo que descubro el alboroto por el inicio de la venta de entradas para Bob Dylan que va a Rosario!) y me compré “Field Commander Cohen” grabado en vivo en 1979.

Cohen con la voz en transición, todavía cantaba y no contaba las canciones como lo hace ahora. Descomunal disco donde también incluye la siempre revisitada “Bird on the wire”. Ideal para un regreso en micro a Buenos Aires.

Algunas líneas (de wikipedia) sobre “Bird on the Wire” y luego la letra.

“Bird on the Wire” is one of Leonard Cohen’s signature songs. It was recorded 26 September 1968 in Nashville and included on his 1969 album Songs from a Room. A May 1968 recording produced by David Crosby, entitled “Like a Bird”, was added to the 2007 remastered CD. Judy Collins was the first to release the song on her 1968 album Who Knows Where the Time Goes.

In the 1960s, Cohen lived on the Greek island Hydra with his girlfriend Marianne (the woman depicted on Songs from a Room’s back cover). She has related how she helped him out of a depression by handing him his guitar, whereupon he began composing “Bird on the Wire” – inspired by a bird sitting on one of Hydra’s recently installed phone wires, followed by memories of wet island nights. He finished it in a Hollywood motel.

Cohen has described “Bird on the Wire” as a simple country song, and the first recording, by Judy Collins, was indeed done in a country setting. He later made various minor changes, such as the modifications present on Cohen Live. Different renditions are included on all of his live albums. On occasion he also performed Serge Lama’s French version, “Je veux vivre tout seul”, in concert.

Several artists have covered the song, often as “Bird on a Wire” (indeed, this variation appears in the compilation The Essential Leonard Cohen), including:

* Joe Cocker on Joe Cocker! (1969) and the live album Mad Dogs & Englishmen (1970)
* Tim Hardin on the album Bird on a Wire (1971)
* Pearls Before Swine on the album Beautiful Lies You Could Live In (1971)
* Rita Coolidge on the album The Lady’s Not for Sale (1972)
* Jennifer Warnes on the tribute album Famous Blue Raincoat (1987)
* Tom Cochrane and Red Rider on The Symphony Sessions (1989)
* The Neville Brothers on the album Brother’s Keeper (1990), also included in the movie by the same name
* The Lilac Time on the tribute album I’m Your Fan (1991)
* The Bobs on the album Cover the Songs of … (1994), in a skate-punk style
* Johnny Cash on the album American Recordings (1994), and also live with orchestra (released on the 2003 compilation Unearthed)
* Willie Nelson on the tribute album Tower of Song (1995)
* Stina Nordenstam on the album People Are Strange (1998)
* k.d. lang on the album Hymns of the 49th Parallel (2004)
* Perla Batalla on the album Bird on the Wire: The Songs of Leonard Cohen (2005)
* The Norwegian band Midnight Choir had its name from the song’s opening lines, “Like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free.”
* Kris Kristofferson has stated that those opening lines will be his epitaph.


Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook,
like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.
If I, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by.
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you.
Like a baby, stillborn,
like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me.
But I swear by this song
and by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee.
I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
he said to me, "You must not ask for so much."
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, "Hey, why not ask for more?"
Oh like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

(es la mejor traducción que encontré)

Como un pájaro en el hilo eléctrico,
como un borracho en un coro de medianoche
he intentado a mi manera ser libre

Como un gusano en un anzuelo
Como un caballero de un libro pasado de moda
He salvado todos mis lazos para tí

Si he sido poco amable
espero que puedas dejarlo pasar
Si he sido insincero
espero que sepas que nunca fué contigo

Como un niño aún no nacido,
como una bestia con su cuerno
he destrozado a todo el que se acercó a por mí

Pero juro por esta canción
y por todo lo que he hecho mal
que lo reharé para ti

Vi un mendigo apoyado en su muleta de madera
que me dijo: ” No debes pedir tanto “
y una bella mujer apoyada en el quicio oscuro de su puerta
que me gritó: ” Oye, ¿ por qué no pides más ? “