Remember the day the world found out that Leonard Cohen died? Today. We all put up our favorite songs on Facebook, whatsapped friends and family, listened to all his songs in the privacy of home and remembered what each song meant to us.
“Suzanne”, “Hallelujah”, “Democracy”, “Dance Me To The End Of Love”.
And then, if you didn’t already realise it, you discovered that he had penned one final album, his knowing goodbye, “You Want it Darker”. So on the day after his death, we could relish nine new unheard songs and listen to his soul pouring out before his death. Life doesn’t get grittier and more true than that.
How many people around the world poured out messages of love and loss and grief and thankfulness today for Leonard Cohen, whose words and music struck with something common, very deep inside all of us?
It felt like joint prayer and it united many people. And it was powerful.
When I heard of Leonard Cohen’s death, I remarked, “the world is a poorer place now”. I knew it was coming, he had a fragile frame of late. And there lies the sadness of death, the loss of the physical being here relative to the people left behind. But his music and poetry remain and so his spirit, the common spirit, belonging to everyone lives on. The spirit that is individual, not global; personal, not political. I am thankful that, despite his weakness and fragility, he brought forth his final breaths in very special songs, that today were written for his own consolation perhaps and for me and for you.
“So much of the world is plunged in darkness and chaos” (Cohen, London concert 2008), but we have the power to raise each other up with our prayers and common spirit and keep ourselves free enough to allow this spirit course through our beings, like Cohen. The world doesn’t have to be a poorer place without him. At the moment he took his last breath, a new life inhaled his first. An experience, which he elaborates on in his acceptance speech at the Prince of Asturias Awards ceremony.
To ensure a new life becomes great, it takes parents, educators, the world to provide a good education with unbiased history and cultural lessons and the space and acceptance in which to develop through time.
“So ring the bell that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.” (Anthem)