Friday, November 11, 2016

So Long, Leonard Man

Last week I came across uke tabs for Dance Me to the End of Love, a song that has always deeply stirred me. I never knew until the site informed me, that it was about lovers in a death camp. I had always felt eternal love and yearning in that song, not darkness and death. That was the genius of Leonard Cohen, I think, to bring light into dark and despairing corners: "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."

Just before falling asleep last night, I learned he died. I actually couldn't believe it at first, and thought there had been some mistake. His latest album, You Want It Darker, was only released a few weeks ago.

This morning I went searching for uke tutorials of Hallelujah, a song that has inspired so many incredible cover versions.

Other songs I'm listening to now: Anthem, Tower of Song, I'm Your Man, Everybody Knows, Famous Blue Raincoat, In My Secret Life, Bird on a Wire, A Thousand Kisses Deep. Lasting gifts to the world.

So glad I was able to see him perform in 2012.

My first favourite Leonard Cohen songs were Marianne and Suzanne. Although neither are my name, I felt he was singing to me directly, and I played and played the album on lazy Sunday mornings. Now when I hear them in my mind, I can see light pouring through a window, dust tumbling in sunbeams. Leonard Cohen provided the soundtrack of many such moments.

Come over to the window, my little darling,
I'd like to try to read your palm.
I used to think I was some kind of Gypsy boy
before I let you take me home.
Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began
to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again.
Well you know that I love to live with you,
but you make me forget so very much.
I forget to pray for the angels
and then the angels forget to pray for us.
Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...
We met when we were almost young
deep in the green lilac park.
You held on to me like I was a crucifix,
as we went kneeling through the dark.
Oh so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...
Your letters they all say that you're beside me now.
Then why do I feel alone?
I'm standing on a ledge and your fine spider web
is fastening my ankle to a stone.
Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...
For now I need your hidden love.
I'm cold as a new razor blade.
You left when I told you I was curious,
I never said that I was brave.
Oh so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...
Oh, you are really such a pretty one.
I see you've gone and changed your name again.
And just when I climbed this whole mountainside,
to wash my eyelids in the rain!
Oh so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...

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