India has the best Ice Cream
America has the best Chocolate
England has the best Phlegm
Spain has the best Worms
Italy has the best Mist
Israel has the best Self-Mockery
Canada has the best Light
Mexico has the best Eagles
Portugal has the best Circles
Egypt has the best Paper
Morocco has the best Jews
Japan has the best Creases
I've been to too many countries
I died when I left Montreal
I met women I didn't understand
I pretended to get interested in food
But it was all The Fear of Snow
It was all the Will of G-d
It was all The Heart
swallowing The Other Organs
It was Five Days of Summer
and Two Days of Spring
Mostly it was the Death of my Dog
Sorrow is the time to begin
Longing is the place to rejoice
But I did not begin
Longing is the place to rejoice
But I did not begin
and I did not rejoice
I was lazy in G-d Books lie open all around me
Despite my efforts
they keep coming into my room
And there is a slab of old stone
with cuneiform inscriptions
When I lived in Montreal
I knew what to wear
I had old clothes
and old friends
and my dog had been dead
for only ten or fifteen years
Fortunately there is no space for regret
in the Poverty of these Reflections

Copyright © 1999 by Leonard Cohen. All rights reserved.
Reprinted here with Leonard Cohen's permission.

Also published in Intensity,
Spring 1999 issue (issue 4/volume 12).