May Light Perpetual Shine Upon You, Leonard Cohen

My beloved Leonard Cohen has died. Eighty-two. Spry the last time I saw him perform live just a few years back, once in Las Vegas and once in LA. Ray and I even flew to Denver to see his concert there, but the performance was rained out. We considered going to London to hear that same concert.

Aw, I mean, my relationship with Leonard Cohen has been a real love affair dating all the way back to the ’60’s when I first heard “Suzanne” and “The Sisters of Mercy.” My three daughters grew up hearing me sing those songs to them every night at bedtime, along with a few from Joni Mitchell. I quoted Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” at my sister’s funeral,

Ring the bell that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Just yesterday, I put on one of his albums because I was feeling blue. I instantly felt comforted, as much from the familiarity of his gravelly voice as from the absolute beauty of his poetic lyrics. He has helped me cope when life was tough, to feel happier when life was good and to understand how Christian symbolism could be used by a Jewish man turned Buddhist to convey universal truths about life and its vicissitudes:

And Jesus was a sailor
when he walked upon the water
and he spent a long time watching
from his lonely wooden tower
and when he knew for certain
only drowning men could see him
he said All men will be sailors then
until the sea shall free them
but he himself was broken
long before the sky would open
forsaken, almost human
he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone

I know nothing about the circumstances of Leonard Cohen’s death. What I do know is that he will remain alive for me as long as I am alive. He’s been a good friend, through thick and thin, and I hope that he now is at peace.

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3 thoughts on “May Light Perpetual Shine Upon You, Leonard Cohen”

  1. No more than a couple weeks ago, I read an article in the local paper where it stated Leonard Cohen was ready to go. No details I can remember but I assumed he was terribly ill. I have never seen him perform but have several CDs. His voice is indeed mesmerizing.
    Thank you for this video. The photography is amazing and it was soothing to hear Leonard sing again as I haven’t heard him in quite a while. ❤ ❤ ❤

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