All men will be sailors then, until the sea shall free them

The YouTube video of A Sailor’s Life by the Fairport Convention contains the image shown below:

I have just discovered that the words are taken from the Leornard Cohen song Suzanne, but of the origin of the image I have no idea. If anyone recognises it, please leave a comment.

Here’s the original, from 1970 or threabouts:

And a live version from 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
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
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you’ve touched her perfect body with your mind.
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 then
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
And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you’ll trust him
For he’s touched your perfect body with his mind.

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
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.


Update 23 April 2012: I have just found a new version of this song recently uploaded on Youtube by Coffeescup:


Update 27 March 2012: Debra Dalgleish (from the Contextures Blog) sent me an e-mail identifying the source of the image. It comes from Jason Kinney and can be seen here:

After realizing scarves by covetable designers such as Alexander McQueen or Hermes were out of reach, Portland-based photographer Jason Kinney decided to apply his medium to silk. Pauper Voile is the upshot, with Kinney explaining that his interest in scarves made him “curious about how to put an image on fabric.” Starting out with wood-block prints before teaching himself how to screen print, he refined his skill to an obsessive degree for a line of scarves that exude Gothic sophistication.

… “The Sail” design is composed of elements from Victorian paintings and an old photograph of a sailor in profile.

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1 Response to All men will be sailors then, until the sea shall free them

  1. Pingback: 5 Year Report | Newton Excel Bach, not (just) an Excel Blog

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