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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

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

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

Leonard Cohen

I have been a fan of Leonard Cohen for as long as I can remember.

I read his novels, I bought his poetry. I remember buying a hardback copy of the first edition of his poems and then going to the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) to hear him reading them.

At the end when he was walking off the stage,  something propelled me to get up and run down the aisle. I caught up with him at the exit door and asked him to sign my (his) book. He did so.   I still have it. The poems, I have to admit,  are not his best  – the lyrics of his songs are so much better. But I treasure that moment – and his autograph.

His songs accompanied me throughout the years of growing up. At parties, we didn’t dance – we sat on the floor listening to his voice.  It was his music the boys played if they wanted you to fancy them.  His songs were the background to our lives. And, to a large extent, they still are.

Tower of Song

He stands stiff and stooped

Legs buckling beneath him

Back bent

Head bowed

When he takes his hat off

We see an old man

And then he takes the mike

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.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

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