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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Leonard Cohen: 1934-2016

Goodbye, Leonard

If I knew where the songs came from, I'd go there more often.”
Leonard Cohen

The world lost a great soul this week. Leonard Cohen lived the songs he wrote—dark, sensual, spiritual, sinister, holy—they ran the gamut from the mystical, “Suzanne:”

Suzanne takes you down to her place by the river
You can hear the boats go by, you can spend the night forever
And you know that she's half-crazy, but that's why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China...”

to “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.”

to his biggest hit, “Hallelujah:”

...I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it went all wrong
I stand before the Lord of Song,
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah...”

Leonard Cohen was true to his muse, followed the lead of his soul, and wrote lyrics that will live forever. Like Carl Jung, he wrote through depression, loss, and even dissociation, exposing, unashamed, what was worst in him, and what was best. There was never a pop song, or a fluff-song in the bunch. His futuristic “Everybody Knows” written in 1992, could have been written today:

...Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows that the good guys lost
Everybody knows that the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, and the rich get rich
That's how it goes,
Everybody knows.”

He published his final album, You Want it Darker, an ode to his upcoming death, just last month. The very best thing Leonard Cohen did with his life, and with his songs was to never lie. Whatever was in his heart, no matter how deep, or dark, or twisted, went straight into his lyrics. He will be greatly missed by so many, including this one human being, who has followed his music forever. Fortunately, he left us with so much material, so much to ponder, that we can spend the rest of our lives mining it for its depth of meaning. He was truly a prophet in the Old Testament style.

...There's a lover in the story
But the story's still the same
There's a lullaby for suffering
And a paradox to blame
But it's written in the scriptures
And it's not some idle claim
You want it darker
We kill the flame...”

                                                           In the Spirit,


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