Friday, November 11, 2016

Leonard Cohen 1934-2016

By Der Kosmonaut
2016 is a nightmare on every conceivable level. This year has seen the passing of three of the most important and influential musicians. First we lost David Bowie. Then we lost Prince. Today we have lost Leonard Cohen. I suspect that the election of Donald Trump crushed Cohen. Cohen spent half of his life in the United States. Though he knew all its horrors, he really believed that the United States would retain it's democracy and ideals of social equality.
Yet he feared for the future. Already he foresaw the coming of fascism in New York with his seminal record "First We Take Manhattan:". In 1992 he predicted that "The Future" would bring worse horrors than experienced in the 20th century. Finally this year, he had his finger on the social and political pulse with his song "You Want It Darker". Unfortunately, Cohen was prescient as always. Poets are the prophets of today. We sense, feel, smell and see things deeper than others. Often we see things which are invisible to the rest of society.
I first heard his music when I was 16 when "First We Take Manhattan" was released. I didn't really appreciate his music until much later when I moved to his hometown of Montreal. Cohen did influence one poem of mine. I will never have the talent of Cohen. He will most certainly be remembered as Canada's greatest poet. He will probably be one of the few poets born in the 20th century whose work will sit alongside the great classical English language poets.
I will forever kick myself in the ass for missing the opportunity to see him live in concert. He performed a concert in Belgrade in 2009 when I lived there. My girlfriend at the time went to see him. At the time I was too broke to go even though the tickets were pennies on the dollar compared to the price of tickets for the same tour in Western Europe.
Thank you Leonard Cohen for your contribution to music and poetry. You will be missed. You departed at the moment when people needed you most. We are now in the darkness without your voice and wisdom as navigation lights to guide us through.

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