I’m a big fan of Leonard Cohen. Despite seeming to be in some sort of competition with Bob Dylan as to who could sing their own songs less favourably, he wrote words and music that are full of depth, mysticism and spirituality. Actually, his poor singing caused the album that included the song “Hallelujah” to be rejected by his recording company when it was initially produced, and the song languished for ten years before someone else found it and it crept into popular awareness.
Four years ago, I heard the newly released song “Show Me The Way,” from his album, “Old Ideas.” It was one of three new albums to be released in the last four years: this from a man in his late seventies and early eighties. The song proved to be the foundation for a Christmas Eve sermon written around the lyrics: “show me the place where the word became a man; show me the place where the suffering began.” And “show me the place; help me roll away the stone …” Imagery from John’s gospel and Easter. And physics: “a thread of light, a particle, a wave.”
“Dance Me To The End Of Love,” is a song of passion and love, which like so many songs of love, has a spiritual dimension and expresses not just human passion but the element of divine love that threads itself through all human love and affection. And, for me, conveys the idea of life as a dance with the divine framed with love.
He left us with so many songs and so many words of mystery and inspiration.
Canadian singer Basia Bulat expressed appreciation for his influence on her own work and sang this for Leonard Cohen’s birthday two years ago. “It’s time that we began to laugh and cry, and cry and laugh, about it all …”
So long, Leonard. Thank you for the blessing of your words and music.