Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mag 44 - An Evening with Leonard Cohen


The legend from the tower of song and verse
Now seventy-six, maybe still five-feet-eight,
With the limber long legs of the lover he is
And storied long face of the friar he was,
Began most songs on his knees.

That hat: a sartorial punctuation mark, cool
Tipped down, shaded twinkling eyes, then raised
Up to dance 'midst three light beams spotting
Just him raising his hat against the bright shafts --
Just to see us high in the third tier, to thank us
Just for being there, and to caution his fans in
Steep places not to lean too far forward,
Else we set in motion "an avalanche."

Later, before the third encore would see his
Final bow, unable to contain his gratitude, he
Pressed that hat against his chest and dropped
To his knees, bowing fully to the floor.
Then the limber long legs of the lover and
Expressive long face of the mountain friar --
Tucked serenely in child's pose with
A child's kind of soaring joy --
Rode an avalanche of applause.

 MLydiaM ~ December 2010



The top image is this week's photo prompt at Magpie Tales.



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29 comments:

Kat Mortensen said...

We saw him on his tour in Canada a couple of years ago. The hat is key. It was the best concert I have ever seen.

Kat

Fireblossom said...

Sounds like it was a memorable evening!

Frosty Duncan said...

Sometimes I wish blogs had like buttons. "LIKE"

thingy said...

What a wonderful image of Cohen and I liked your contribution.

Berowne said...

Applause, beautifully expressed.

Owen said...

Lydia, so lucky ! Was it in Portland on Dec 8th ? You didn't go all the way to Australia to see him in November? Your poem is lovely, a fine homage, I hope he will see it one day... and know just how deeply he touched someone in the audience that night...

madamebutterfly said...

What a great way to praise his performance - really pleased the you enjoyed it! (Funny the word verification for this post is Pregood)

Freda said...

Truly inspiring - both Leonard Cohen and your poem.

Glenn Buttkus said...

A wonderful tribute to a great poet,
sometimes singer, and incredible
human being; nice tangent springing
off Rosebud, feeding the fires of
your own agenda, yet still bang on
for the interest of all. Cohen is one
of Tess' favorite artists, and was
master of ceremonies at the
Willow Manor Ball this summer.
I didn't encounter you there, but
maybe next year. My mag was
about John Lennon, and I tried
to bring in December 8, and
Autumn, and life and death,
to render the prompt extant.
Terrific poem. Thanks.

kathew said...

what a lovely tribute to an artist from an artist! Bravissimo

pohanginapete said...

I've never seen him live in concert, but a friend did, recently. Apparently he dances like me. I'm still not sure what to make of that, but I doubt it's complimentary ;^)

Love the idea of the hat as a punctuation mark. The structure of the poem, finishing with reference to what appeared earlier, particularly impresses me; it gives a strong, almost tangible structure to the poem.

Lydia said...

Kat~ Hands down, without a doubt, most definitely, ditto and ditto and ditto...it was the best concert I have ever seen also!

Fireblossom~ Yup. :)

Frosty Duncan~ I LIKE your comment!

thingy~ Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting on this Magpie. :)

Berowne~ Oh, your comment made me feel great.

Owen~ Yes, we were old stick-in-the-muds and waited for him to come to Portland, although I would love to have seen him in Australia! Hard to believe he would ever find this humble poem (but in case you ever read this, Leonard, much love and appreciation to you).

madamebutterfly~ Thank you, butterfly. Your comments are always pregood.

Freda~ You, like Leonard, are so very kind. :)

Glenn Buttkus~ I so appreciated your in depth comments and am anxious to read your work on Lennon. I wondered if Cohen would mention the anniversary that evening, but he did not, but his performance still brought Lennon closer in spirit for me - both poets and songwriters, and contemporaries (although it is nearly impossible to think of John Lennon as a 70 yr.old man!).
I did not know that Leonard was master of ceremonies at Tess' Willow Ball! My escort that evening was to be Tony Curtis, but he passed away soon before the gala and I was in no mood to seek a replacement. Next year!

kathew~ Wow. Don't know exactly what to say, except many thanks!

pohanginapete~ Weird, but I was thinking of you and your blog early this morning and realized it was time to catch up over there.
Thank you so much for your comments. Coming from one who dances like Leonard Cohen they mean a lot (if you dance even slightly as he did during "Dance Me to the End of Love," well...sigh).

Tumblewords: said...

I am, of course, green with envy. You've written a stellar piece about my favorite performer whom I've never seen in real time. Green, I am.

Lydia said...

Tumblewords~ Thank you for the kind comments. My hope is that he will find himself refreshed after awhile off the road and decide to tour again, and that you will be able to see him. Hopeful, I am.

earthtoholly said...

That was beautiful, Lydia...I bet he, too, would love your words. So glad you enjoyed your evening with him. :o)

mythopolis said...

I play this dvd of Cohen ('I'm Your Man') all the time! Amazing lyricist, and also his perspectives on life really hit home. Nice homage, thanks.

La Belette Rouge said...

I don't own any Leonard Cohen. I know who he is and yet don't know him( hiding my head in shame). Andy man who inspires such writing is an artist worth really knowing.
xoxo

Lydia said...

earthtoholly~ Aw, thank you, Holly. I hope he fully knows how special he is to his fans.

mythopolis~ I'll look for the dvd you mentioned. He sang "I'm Your Man," of course. After the show that night we decided to buy one and I chose the cd of the tour rather than a dvd or t-shirt, mainly because we had a 40 mile drive and I wanted to hear more!

La Belette Rouge~ What's weird is that the recordings of his old stuff that I own are all sung by other artists. I think a lot of people fell in love with his music before they "found" him. I have his later works and really should get a few of the classics. xoxo

francessa said...

That's a wonderful description of a truly great artist! Glad you had the chance to see and hear him!

Lydia said...

francessa~ Thank you so much. I am glad for it too.

Rhiannon said...

So glad you wrote about his show. Leonard is such a debonair man isn't he? The way he honors and shows his appreciation and acknowledging the privilege of singing to his audience. His hat is like a part of him, always holding it close to him, either at his heart or he bows, or when he puts it back on in such a distinguished charming way with that twinkle in his eyes..with no ego or pride at all..just a heartfelt love he gives and gives to the audience. Notice the happy glow and charm he always has when he does what he loves the most? Wish we all would be able to appreciate our special talents, whatever they be.

Leonard Cohen is "the man"! and I am so honored to have appreciated his poetry, his talks, his singing style and his wonderful lyrics. I love the way he can get very serious with one song and then smiling and charming with another song...he's so good at that.

So glad it was a great show and that you and your husband got to witness it Lydia. I was wondering how it went. Thanks for sharing with us. Maybe one day he might do a concern in Southern Oregon? Naw...:o(....I doubt it...I don't even think many even know who he is or ever heard of him around here where I live.

Love the photo with the hat at his heart...what a charming and long and wonderful life he has lived..the good and bad, the long long road he has traveled has been just incredible.

Have a Happy Christmas my friend.

Love,

Rhi

Rhiannon said...

Lydia, I just got out my cd "Leonard Cohen, the best of"...that's exactly the title...I've had it forever. It's got all the ole ones you know? From the 60's...and even earlier..I think you would love it. "Suzanne, "Sisters of Mercy" "Famous blue raincoat" Chelsea hotel No.2"..and many many more...what's cool about this CD is that for every song in it he writes in the liner notes when and why he wrote each song and their meaning,etc..for instance he writes about the song "Take this longing".."Buffy St. Marie recorded an early version of this called "The Bells'. It took me six or seven years to get a version for myself. I began it while listening to Nico (oh I love Nico she is one of my favs Lydia)sing at the Dom on 8th street in 1966. I broke the code in Asmara and finished the song in the shed on St.Dominique Street in Montreal last year"...each song in this cd will have him writing about what it's all "about"...I am sure you can find it maybe on Amazon online. If you are interested in this "older" cd of his, and can't find access to it let me know. Maybe I can try to find it for you around here.

Okay, I have to get to bed..many errands to do tomorrow.

Love,

Rhi

Roxana said...

oh Lydia, how i could ever thank you for this poem, this homage?...
i am speechless, moved to tears.

Lydia said...

Roxana~ If it had that reaction from you then I am honored and speechless myself!

Lydia said...

Rhi~ Heavens, I thought I replied to your long comments....I am sure I did and they must not have posted successfully. :(
Your love for and understanding of Leonard Cohen springs from your artist's soul, I can tell. Beautiful descriptions of him. I will buy the "Best of" cd you mentioned.
Don't overdo in your excitement over this holiday! I wish you the happiest.

mythopolis said...

Lovely tribute to a lovely man. Thanks.

Lydia said...

mythopolis~ Thank you. I agree with you...he is so lovely. Really, his concert made my whole year. I'll never forget it.

twinkly sparkles said...

Yes. This made me cry--it's beautiful--simple and full of love.

The photo of him is lovely, too--he's so often serious or posing seriously, especially when he was younger and creating some sort of conscious public persona. Those were different times (you know whose line that is, right?).

We missed him in NYC a couple of years back (Feb 2009, I think); we hadn't planned on going or anything, but we happened by the theater where he would be playing for the evening and it was sold out.

Lydia said...

twinklysparkles~ Thank you for your kind comments about the poem and then your observations about how his photos have played out through the years.
He is on break right now. I hope he takes the gang out for one more tour, provided he feels fully up to it. If he does I hope you get to see him, and we sure would if he played within 500 miles or so!

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