“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”
Leonard Cohen died last night at the age of 82.
I found out about his death while taking a break from finishing the piece I intended to publish this morning. As a result I spent the remainder of my evening in tears, listening to his music and being a general plague to social media as I shoveled link after link of YouTube videos at my friends and acquaintances.
Needless to say this I did not finish that story.
Anyone who has spent time with me has spent time in my life over the past twenty-some-odd years knows how much this man’s music has meant to me. From the very first time I hear Everybody Knows as part of a movie soundtrack his voice and words found a way to move me. His songs led me out of my teenage angst and, later, in many ways helped me cope with the death of my parents. He unknowingly helped me seduce more than one young woman, and then kept me company during the times following the inevitable disintegration of those relationships.
“Well never mind, we are ugly but we have the music”
– Leonard Cohen
I forced many who tried to get to know me to also get to know his music, and I like to think that regardless of whatever opinion they may currently hold about me it made a change to their listening tastes. I took to be both a duty and an honor. I know that he, along with a few other artist has influenced my writings and the horrible poetry I spew from time to time.
I won’t go into the details of his life and times, or offer up a play-by-play of his catalogue. There are others, more qualified than myself, who have already done so.
I struggle to find just one song that would sum up his genius, and it can’t be done. But do take this as a small offering and just hope, that if you are unfamiliar with him that you’ll explore his work from there.
And I know that there are larger issues to be upset about lately, and I’m upset about those things too. But I needed to take a short time to acknowledge the loss of this great poet who has meant so much to my life.
Rest in peace Mr. Cohen.
Photo of Leonard Cohen by Rama via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0 FR)