Saying Goodbye to Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen’s lyrics from ‘Treaty’, a song from his latest album ‘You Want it Darker’:

I’ve seen you change the water into wine.

I’ve seen you change it back to water too.

I sit at your table every night.

I try but I just don’t get high with you.

I wish there was a treaty we could sign.

And I do not care who takes the bloody hill.

I’m angry and I’m tired all the time.

I wish there was a treaty –

I wish there was a treaty between your love and mine.

We lost Leonard Cohen this week, the hugely influential singer and songwriter. His lyrics are considered poetry – the contemplation, full of longing and loss, often mixed with the heaviness (or lightness) of allegory. Moments of deep introspection in my life have invariably been punctuated by the voice of Cohen and many rainy days locked in the house, Leonard Cohen, the artist of choice.

Somehow, it almost seems appropriate that Cohen left us this week at the age of 82. A historic week that left so many of us feeling that we woke up to a new world. His death is yet another moment to stop and pause, an opportunity for reflection and perhaps even some Cohen-style redemption. Somehow, his death feels symbolic, like a tattoo across the events of this week. His latest album is aptly entitled ‘You Want it Darker’. However, I must actually believe that most of us ultimately want "It" lighter.

Cohen was rumored to be in poor health for some time. A recent article in Spin quotes Cohen’s son Adam as saying:

“This old man, who was truly in pain and discomfort, would at some intervals get out of his medical chair and dance in front of his speakers,” he reveals. “And sometimes, we would put on a song and listen to it on repeat just like teenagers with the help of medical marijuana. I think in states of pain and discomfort, what do you seek with more energy and more clarity than joy and jubilance?”


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