Two years ago today Leonard Cohen passed away. I was devastated. I’d been a fan for ages and his melodies, lyrics and poems gave – and still give – comfort in trying times. Some lines served as powerful mantras, for example the line “dance me to the children, who are asking to be born” from the song “Dance me to the end of love”. It helped me at a time when conceiving a child seemed impossible as well as when it was accidental. Those lines helped me keep a level head and open mind. When I received the message that my grandmother had died, a line from “Boogie Street” instantly came to my mind: “It is in love that we are made, in love we disappear.” Leonard Cohen was a master of words and it is a great joy to read his newest book “The Flame” which was published this October. It contains lyrics, poem and notes from his notebooks.
I have not yet read all of “The Flame”, I am savouring it slowly but from what I’ve read so far, “Listen to the hummingbird” is one of my favourite poems in it. Leonard recorded an early version which you can listen to on YouTube.
I am a member of two fabulous Facebook Groups dedicated to the life and work of Leonard. One is called I need a regular dose of Leonard Cohen (yes I do!) and the other is Hallelujah Memorial Event Leonard Cohen. The latter group holds a memorial today by – amongst other things – singing/listening to Hallelujah this evening in memory of Leonard. Now since this Blog pretends to be about books, I want to recommend a book dedicated to the song Hallelujah.
The book is a fabulous recount of the making of Hallelujah and how it became one of the most covered songs of all time. When I had finished reading it, I had a playlist of roughly 50 versions of Hallelujah, some truly inspiring, some bloody awful (I’m not going to name and shame as their beauty lies in the ears of the listener). Nothing beats listening to Leonard singing it, however. I leave you with a picture I took in Montréal about a month ago and will now put my Hallelujah playlist on.