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HEY LEONARD, THAT’S NO WAY TO SAY GOODBYE

Five years ago today, on 7 November 2016, Leonard Cohen died. 

I wrote this poem after seeing him perform at The Wembley Arena on his last concert tour in the UK. It is called Tower of Song after his song of the same name.

Tower of Song

He stands stiff and stooped,

legs buckling beneath him.

Back bent,

head bowed.

When he takes off his hat

we see an old man.

And then he takes the mic

and we hear that familiar voice.

Deeper, more rasping

but still with the power

to melt my heart.

And from the noise in the arena

thousands feel the same.

He stands quite still

almost in reverence

while his musicians perform

and his singers sing.

He speaks for a whole generation.

He lifts us

with his words,

his music,

his compassion.

When our time is up

no one wants to leave.

We stand and stamp

and clap and shout.

A huge roar

as he returns

to sing again

and again.

At the end

he speaks to every one of us

as if we are alone with him.

It is like receiving a priestly blessing.

His words move me to tears.

Hey Leonard

That’s no way to say goodbye.

Leonard Cohen

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

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IN BED WITH LEONARD COHEN

Those of you who enjoy my poems may like to know that a new book of my poetry has been published, “Wonderland”. The cost  is £6.50 including postage within the UK.  If you’d like a copy, please contact me through this blog. Thank you!

As much as I am a fan of Bob Dylan, I think that Leonard Cohen should have been the one to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.  Do you agree?

This poem is not so much about Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan but more about a nostalgia for the past.

In bed with Leonard Cohen

I want to be back.

Back sitting on someone’s floor

at a party I’ve gate-crashed,

listening to some gorgeous long haired guy

singing, ‘Suzanne takes you down’.

And I want to see again

those photos of Elvis

having his hair cut for the army.

And I want to be again

sneaking into my first X film,

hiding cigarettes from my parents,

holding hands with someone I’ve only just met

dancing obscenely close in some Soho cellar.

I want to be kissed again

for the very first time.

I want to hear Buddy Holly on a juke box.

Sip my first coke in a Wimpy bar,

my first rum and coke in a real bar.

I want to be hearing Dylan,

The Beatles,

The Everly Brothers,

Leonard Cohen

for the very first time.

I want to be hugged by my mum and dad.

I want to be back.

Take me back.

But here I am

in bed with Leonard Cohen

and his ‘Book of Longing’.

Longing to be back.

this-leonard-cohen-pic-for-blog

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

“In Bed With Leonard Cohen” was first published in “Wonderland.”

( 2019, The Woodland Press)

REMEMBERING LEONARD COHEN

Four years ago today, on 7 November 2016, Leonard Cohen died. 

I wrote this poem after seeing him perform at The Wembley Arena on his last concert tour in the UK. It is called Tower of Song after his song of the same name.

Tower of Song

He stands stiff and stooped,

legs buckling beneath him.

Back bent,

head bowed.

When he takes off his hat

we see an old man.

And then he takes the mic

and we hear that familiar voice.

Deeper, more rasping

but still with the power

to melt my heart.

And from the noise in the arena

thousands feel the same.

He stands quite still

almost in reverence

while his musicians perform

and his singers sing.

He speaks for a whole generation.

He lifts us

with his words,

his music,

his compassion.

When our time is up

no one wants to leave.

We stand and stamp

and clap and shout.

A huge roar

as he returns

to sing again

and again.

At the end

he speaks to every one of us

as if we are alone with him.

It is like receiving a priestly blessing.

His words move me to tears.

Hey Leonard

That’s no way to say goodbye.

Leonard Cohen

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

In bed with Leonard Cohen

89 days into lockdown.  And here I am looking back with nostalgia

 

I want to be back

Back sitting on someone’s floor

at a party I’ve gatecrashed

listening to some gorgeous long haired guy

singing, ‘Suzanne takes you down’

 

And I want to see again

those photos of Elvis

having his hair cut for the army

 

And I want to be again

sneaking into my first X film

hiding cigarettes from my parents

holding hands with someone I’ve only just met

dancing obscenely close in some Soho cellar

 

I want to be kissed again

for the very first time

 

I want to hear Buddy Holly on a juke box

Sip my first coke in a Wimpy bar

my first rum and coke in a real bar

 

I want to be hearing Dylan

The Beatles

The Everly Brothers

Leonard Cohen

for the very first time

 

I want to be hugged by my mum and dad

 

I want to be back

Take me back

 

But here I am

in bed with Leonard Cohen

And his ‘Book of Longing’

 

Longing to be back.

 

“In Bed With Leonard Cohen” was first published in “Wonderland.” ( 2019, Woodland Press)

Copies of this poetry book can be obtained from me. Simply comment below leaving your email address and I will get back to you. The cost of the book is £6.50 including postage within the UK. 50% of any profit from sales will be given to the NHS.

 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

© Portrait of Leonard Cohen by M.R.

Coronavirus UK – DAY 30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DESERT ISLAND DISCS PLAYLIST

A GOOD DISTRACTION IN THESE DAYS OF LOCKDOWN

Readers from outside the UK may not know of this well known programme which has been on the radio since 1942. You are asked to imagine that you are stranded on a desert island and to choose which eight pieces of music you would like to have with you – assuming you have something on which to play them!  Over the years many famous people have given their choices and their explanations for them. From Marlene Dietrich to George Clooney.

Given that we are all now, to a larger or lesser extent, in isolation, my writers’ group asked us to imagine what music we would like to hear if we were stranded on a desert island.

This was my choice. It would be interesting to know if you agree with it and/or what music you would choose. I have included links to all of the tracks. Please comment below and let me know what you think.

As Time Goes ByDooley Wilson (from the film Casablanca)

Every couple has their song and this is ours. It is a film we have seen many times and get something new out of it each time we see it. It would remind me of my husband and all the great times we have had together in nearly fifty years of marriage.

Only the LonelyRoy Orbison

This song reminds me of when I was around 13. My parents made me go to Maurice Jay Dance Classes and this was one of the few songs they played that made me actually want to dance. It was the year I discovered boys (and they me) and the year I got my first Valentine!

In My LifeThe Beatles

I have always been a fan of the Beatles.  The lyrics to this song move me as much now as they did when I first heard them in 1965.

Mozart Clarinet Quintet in A major, K581

This is my favourite piece of classical music. I find it incredibly soothing and relaxing. I first heard it when I saw the film, Le Bonheur in 1965. I went into our local record shop and asked if they had the soundtrack from Le Bonheur. Oh, they said, laughing, you mean the Clarinet Quintet by Mozart! That was my introduction to classical music and the start of a lifelong love of Mozart.

Leonard Cohen – Dance Me to the End of Love

This is a particularly beautiful, melodic and haunting Leonard Cohen song.  I know many people choose it as their wedding song but, in reality, it is incredibly sad.  According to Leonard Cohen, this song is actually about the musicians who were forced to play while the Jews in the concentration camps were herded into the gas chambers to their death.

Gymnopedie no 1 – Erik Satie

Our oldest son used to play this when he was learning the piano. I have a cassette tape which our three children made for me when they were little which they called, “Neidle Work”. It has all our children performing on it. This beautiful, calming music will remind me of my children when I am far away from them.

Somewhere over the RainbowJudy Garland

This is the original version, sung when she was in her 20s. I chose this because it is a song of hope for bleak times – whether it’s being isolated on a desert island or in your own home!  It was composed by  two Russian Jewish immigrants to the USA. “Yip” Harburg ( Isidore Hochberg) and Harold Arlen (Hyman Arluck). The song, which has become universal, was written to express their yearning for a better life.

I Threw it All Away – Bob Dylan (Nashville Skyline) 

In this album something remarkable happened, Bob Dylan found his voice. He had had a motor bike accident in 1966 and took time out from working. I believe this was the first album he made afterwards in 1969.  I love most of Bob Dylan’s music but in this album he actually sings quite tunefully!  Oddly, his voice went back to its old rasping mumble afterwards.

 

If you could choose only one, which would you choose?

If I could choose just one, it would be the Mozart Clarinet Quintet because it would help keep me calm and relaxed.

What inanimate object would you like to have with you?

I’d choose an endless stack of paper and pencils so I could write and draw to my heart’s content.

Aside from the Bible and Shakespeare, what book would you like?

I would choose The Oxford Book of Children’s Poetry. (OUP, 2007) It would remind me of my five grandchildren as it includes a number of their favourite poems.  Some of the poems are bound to be witty and that would cheer me up. I would try to learn as many as possible so I could recite them from memory.

Thank you for reading my blog. I will be back on Tuesday with some more thoughts from lockdown.  In the meantime, I hope that, wherever you are in the world, that you and your loved ones are safe.

Keep well.  Happy Easter! Happy Passover!  And please take care.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

Remembering Leonard Cohen

Today, 7 November 2018, is two years to the day that Leonard Cohen died. I wrote this poem after seeing him perform at The Wembley Arena on his last concert tour in the UK. It is called Tower of Song after Leonard Cohen’s song of the same name.

Tower of Song

He stands stiff and stooped,

legs buckling beneath him.

Back bent,

head bowed.

When he takes off his hat

we see an old man.

And then he takes the mic

and we hear that familiar voice.

Deeper, more rasping

but still with the power

to melt my heart.

And from the noise in the arena

thousands feel the same.

He stands quite still

almost in reverence

while his musicians perform

and his singers sing.

He speaks for a whole generation.

He lifts us

with his words,

his music,

his compassion.

When our time is up

no one wants to leave.

We stand and stamp

and clap and shout.

A huge roar

as he returns

to sing again

and again.

At the end

he speaks to every one of us

as if we are alone with him.

It is like receiving a priestly blessing.

His words move me to tears.

Hey Leonard

That’s no way to say goodbye.

Leonard Cohen

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems