On Leonard Cohen

I sat in silence this morning, and it wasn’t long until my heart turned towards Leonard Cohen. He was like that. One man radiating like the sun, drawing us in and keeping us faithful to that light. After all, he was a man of the people, private as he was. That was part of his mystery, how he penetrated the darkness inside so many of us. I find his last album ironic that it was penned by such a giver of light. One cannot get into darkness, I suspect, as one gets into light. But there it is. It is a fact of life, that darkness that he describes and portends. We get shivers now as his absence seems to hail darker times ahead.

How did he, and does he, and will continue to, break into our darkness so readily? He is a figure of mystery, as all lovers are. He was impeccable except when it came to love. But he couldn’t help himself. His tailored suits could not protect him from loving women too promiscuously. He had his flaws like all of us do.

No one has been able to say an unkind word about him since his demise. That is because love is stronger than hate. And he seemed to hate nothing and no one on a personal level. He railed against situations in song, but it was an impersonal rant always followed by his own hallelujah.

I read the many testimonies now since his body has been laid to rest. I weep again and again for the personal void left in so many hearts around the globe. They, like me, will continue to have Leonard sing them to sleep at night. They will dream of him. They will yearn towards the lighthouse of his being. And he still is. Someone like him cannot put out their light by simply casting off the body. Oh, no, no, no, as he gruffly intones in one of his songs. There is a table of love he simply cannot leave.

Vicki Woodyard

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