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A Tribute to Leonard Cohen

A prophet of doom,

A regular visitor

To the dark side of the moon.

You dove into all the deep places

Of the psyche, the unconscious realms of the soul,

Where the heart longs

For understanding, compassion and always torn

Between not asking for too much and asking for so much more.


Your melancholy voice pressed against our hearts

And it comforted us to know that someone else

Understood our pain,

Our bafflement at life’s peculiar twists and turns.

You turned bitter into sweet

With the gentle strumming of your guitar;

Playing on the strings of our hearts,

A melody too sad to ignore.


Like the prophets of old

You railed against injustice like Avraham, Moshe and Job;

Defending the people against God’s wrath

And paradoxical Providence

While defending God from people’s indifference and disloyalty,

Cunning and inhumanity.

You sought His will and did your best;

Living on the wire, the razor blade

Between holy and profane;

The logical and the broken window pane.


The fleshpots of desire drove you down in despair.

You ate, drank and were merry till closing time told you

It was all an allusion, a façade, a bitter pill indeed.

You wanted to dance till the end of love

And questioned if there was a God Above;

But you held on firmly in faith in your Creator despite it all;

His holy Name beckoning you again and again to express

The inner point of holiness deep in your soul.


From the Tower of Song you contemplated darkness and light,

Life and death.

You wanted to take Manhattan and Berlin

But lost yourself at times in the maze of sin.

But ever the secret optimist you rose,

Over and over again to reinvent yourself

In the mirror of time, before it passed you by.

Singing Hallaluyah to a chord no one had ever heard before;

It still reverberates across the generation like an anthem,

A mantra, a bitter/sweet refrain.


You wanted it darker and that is what you got.

But your foray into the darkness will illumine our way,

Through the back alleys of sadness and the dead ends of despair;

For that is how the light gets in,

That is the way to repair.

Oh you prophet of doom and hope – we will miss your voice,

Your tears, your desperate attempt to be free.  

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