June 30, 2006


Leonard Cohen

Not being a particularly God-ish person, I've always wondered why I get so weepy whenever I hear Amazing Grace. Throw in some bagpipes (I know, I know) and I'm a mess.

Music comes and goes in my life, which makes me rather an outsider to people that consider music the core of their being. I'm that way with books - they're oxygen to me.

All this probably explains though the attraction, affection and awe I feel regarding Leonard Cohen. When I read recently that he was broke, I wanted to send him money. He is a national treasure. I recall towards the end of my university career sitting in a friend's room being told to shut up and listen. I was told that a lot, but this time it was for Leonard.

I played 'Hallelujah' probably 20 times. It wore a groove in my brain. Forget Amazing Grace, this song had me in tears and I didn't know why. Well, actually I did.
Great poetry has power. Cohen doesn't write music, he casts spells.

Life trundled on, and like many people I gave over my music choices to others. Kids entered the picture, and many things fell by the wayside. I'd catch a song, rarely, and be reminded but it was distant drums.

I was recently reminded of 'Hallelujah' when I heard the recording by Rufus Wainwright. I was instantly smacked back 20 years, and while the song had an enormous effect, it was now for many different reasons. It has been dragging through my mind ever since, haunting me.

There is a new movie out, an homage to Cohen called I'm Your Man.

I don't hit the cinema for many movies, but I think this time will be different. After all, not too many people stick by you for 20 years. Especially peerless poets.

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