Monday, November 14, 2016

So long Leonard Cohen . . . a farewell from Michael O’Leary

So long Leonard Cohen . . . a farewell from Michael O’Leary


            Beginning life as a middle-class son

            Comfortable in your Jewish Catholicism

            Tailor-made for the family’s business

            You chose the more difficult artist’s path


            Through the Montreal poetry scene

            You played youth’s favourite games

            Slim volumes proffering Flowers for the Fürher:

            Eichmann’s normal human perversions           


More polite than the gutter snipe

Rock and rollers, who said they joined

A band to get laid: young Cohen said

He played music to meet women


In the late 1960s when every belief

Came to an end: when The Beatles’ apple

Turned to pulp without the future fiction

You came along with a song from a room


A muse, in the real sense of ‘to amuse’

Someone who spoke openly about thought

And feeling, perhaps here was a poet

Who wasn’t alive a hundred years ago


Who wasn’t ‘beat’ or rock ‘n roll, exactly

But came so far, with a Spanish guitar,

With a seductive voice and lyric to match –

Existential, if you’ll pardon the expression


So all our Suzanne’s took us all down

To our own lands of rags and feathers;

Remembering well that Chelsea Hotel,

New York and the tragic taste of success


You went into God’s Hamburger Bar in

The city of Angels, wanting nothing but

 ‘One with Everything’ . . . becoming a Buddhist

Monk to escape the world of pain and love


            Old songs and new could not be suppressed

            So you returned to the world to bring them,

To sing them to audiences old and new

            Hallelujah, Hallelujah: from below and above


            Dancing to the end of love, you twirled

            Full circle, singing so long Marianne, by e-mail

As she lay dying, remembering Greek Isles

            Sunshine and smiles, farewell dreaming


            It’s now as dark as you want it, Leonard

            But remember, there’s always that crack

            Perhaps you really have come to understand

            Now, that’s where the light truly gets in . . .

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