It's a cold, and it's a broken Hallelujah
I heard today that Leonard Cohen passed away.
You may have never been a fan, but I'll bet you are a fan of someone influenced by his poetry and music.
Leonard Cohen was 82 years old, and lived a hard life, which he wrote about using turns and phrases that anchored themselves in your soul.
His gravelly voice was several octaves lower than most, and he truly was a poet rather than a musician, but even his music had a simplistic elegance that buttressed the poetry.
The news hit me harder than most news I hear.
So I felt I needed to take a moment and reflect on why
Back when I was a tubby teen, trying hard to find my identity and purpose in life, I decided to learn guitar.
In the school I attended, there was this kid, Doug Green, who was two years ahead of me and talented beyond his years. He became my aspirational model.
During a talent show, this Doug came onstage with just an acoustic guitar. This was a surprise because of these four lads from Liverpool, this was a time of four piece rock and roll bands.
'Folk' music wasn't cool.
Doug started a simple finger picking pattern, and began to sing...
"Suzanne takes me down, to her place by the river..."
... and I was captivated.
Here is Leonard singing it years ago.
It was my first experience with Leonard Cohen's music, and it certainly wasn't my last.
But this simple song opened my mind to a world beyond childhood.. to a world of love, and loss, and hope, and to look 'amid the garbage and the flowers'.
He had a lot of garbage in his life. He trusted many, and had that trust broken several times.
In the intro to the video above, he described how he lost the rights to the song 'Suzanne' when a 'friend' had him sign a paper saying 'trust me'...
Later in life, when he thought he could retire, he discovered his business manager had stolen all of his money through the years, and Cohen had to go back on the road performing just to earn enough to survive.
Cohen seem to combine the dark and mystical side of life with real people.
Today my Spotify is serving up a playlist of his music.
I'm not an emotional person, but a tear might well up when it gets to one particular song.
Here it is...
Goodbye Mr. Cohen...