On the death of Leonard Cohen

My dad recalls a story of me being very young, sitting on the counter in the kitchen singing “you were giving me head on an unmade bed, while the limousines waited in the street.” He was pretty surprised.

In fact, my earliest awareness of poetry comes from the song Take This Waltz, the line “there’s a piece that was torn from the morning, and it hangs in gallery of frost.” Even as a young child that image stood out to me. It was so clear and unclear at the same time, like he was describing a dream.

When I was nineteen or twenty I wasn’t having the best time of it. I discovered a novel of intense beauty and suffering, which just made perfect sense to me. Beautiful Losers remains a book I am incredibly fond of. It’s one of those books I feel I can open at any random page and know what’s going on. Even if he himself viewed it as more of a sunstroke than a book.

Some of my best memories of times spent with my family involve the songs of Leonard Cohen.

There was the time after my dad’s ‘retirement’ do, when in the pub, many hours later, his old friend Bruno demanded the entire bar be silent so we could hammeredly croon about tea and oranges that come all the way from China.

Or the night before when, while in pitch darkness, my sisters and brother-in-law tried to find the edge of the water, and me, my dad and brother stood, arm in arm swaying, singing “but skylight is like skin for a drum I’ll never mend, and all the rain came down, amen, on the works of last years man.”

He leaves this world at an ugly time. A bad year. But he leaves us with so much to love, so much to share.

Thanks for the trouble you took from our eyes, I thought it was there for good, so I didn’t try.

1 Comment

  1. That’s really beautiful – Leonard would have loved it, and been so happy

    I don’t think I’ve ever cried into my breakfast but I did this morning as I heard his letter to Marianne read again on the radio.

    A troubadour of these times – the soundtrack of my life

    Thank you

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