I’m seriously drawn to the poetry and music of Leonard Cohen. For those of you too young to know who he was Wikipedia has this beginning to his biography:
Leonard Norman Cohen CC GOQ (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016) was a Canadian singer-songwriter, poet and novelist. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships.Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honour. In 2011, Cohen received one of the Prince of Asturias Awards for literature and the ninth Glenn Gould Prize.
What this doesn’t tell you is that he struggled with finding himself his whole life. He used the medium of words and music to do it, but he struggled. He spent several years in an ashram, became a monk and if you know the story of his romantic escapades, that should make you laugh.
One of my favorite songs, although I love them all and listen to them constantly is Lover, Lover, Lover. It repeats the title and then says “come back to me” as if a romantic love is involved and they have broken apart. No. Leonard is singing to God and God is singing back. The lyrics are profound particularly when Leonard says
“Then let me start again, ” I cried
“Please let me start again
I want a face that’s fair this time
I want a spirit that is calm”
and God replies
“I never, never turned aside, ” he said
“I never walked away
It was you who built the temple
it was you who covered up my face”
These words send chills up and down my spine every time I hear them. And God says
He said, “I locked you in this body,
I meant it as a kind of trial.
You can use it for a weapon,
or to make some woman smile.”
These words are a prayer in song. Most of Leonard’s lyrics are like that, they tell a story. They don’t express anything except his capacity for profound thought, his quest to determine what life IS and how he should live it.
Leonard passed away last summer at the age of 82. I am so thankful I have all of his music. I am thankful he was here and I know he’s in what he calls The Tower of Song still singing away ……… making life easier for those who hear him ……….. making me swoon.
I know he found his truth, his enlightenment many years ago. And that’s what his songs are all about ……….. the way to God.