Leonard Cohen

I think that every person has some context with Leonard Cohen.  In fact, while skyping with my 81 year old father last night, and shared with him that I am attending a concert tonight, he asked, “Is that guy still around?”  My father and I have never talked about Leonard Cohen.

I’m including here in my post, an excellent interview with Leonard Cohen…he speaks of grace, creativity, writing and ‘the third act’.  May I suggest that my readers take the time to listen. There are things said that might forever impact your thinking. When I first read his poetry…heard his music, I would have been in high school.  Living on the fringe, I felt a tug between his words and my heart, even at such a young age. Now that age has given me more a sense of life…its joy and pain, the words mean more. Leonard Cohen’s words have reached in to many hearts over these years and they reached into mine.   He never thought he was one of the big guys.  His honest ‘confession’ writing spoke to every person in a very special way.

I reached over to my book shelf…and picked up my copy of Stranger Music.  Of all of his words, it was impossible to choose the favourite, the most poignant, the most powerful.  I only chose these because I think they represent a common story and apply to a variety of foibles.

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.
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 have tried in my way to be free.
“You can read the life you’re living, but you can not change a word.” Leonard Cohen

3 thoughts on “Leonard Cohen

  1. Thank you for sharing this Kathleen – Lenny Cohen has been my hero and inspiration since my twenties and continues to be so. His writings and songs have accompanied and reflected every relationship and major crossroads in my life. I faithfully follow CBC radio but forget that Q can be seen as well as heard so it was wonderful to watch this video. The last live Cohen concert I attended was in Portland a couple of years ago – the one that just happened in Vancouver I passed because it was held in a giant sports arena – not the environment I want to see Lenny Cohen in. So I’m interested in what you thought of his Calgary concert….

    • At your recommendation, John, I stayed up a while later than planned and wrote a short, however authentic, response to my concert experience. It was moving as I hadn’t been moved by music for some time.

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