i was doing something, i don’t remember what, i was standing in a place…

When I was in Toronto this week I wandered into a used book store and picked up a copy of Leonard Cohen’s Book of Longing. There were other purchases, but I read this one from front to back in one sitting. Sure, its a book of poetry, so not the hardest read, but it captivated me, and time slipped away on the bench where I sat waiting.

I reread it again yesterday afternoon. Here are a few of my favourite shorter poems.

The Sun

I’ve been to the sun
It’s nothing special
A place of violence
Much like our own

The sun said
I am an open book
Be patient

You will find
That everything happens
The same way
Here and there

The solar winds
Are something else
No one masters them
No one really
Navigates them

You survive them
Or you are never
Heard from again

I love the way
The sun speaks
It is so calm and honest
Except when seized
By its own misfortunes

The Flow

You have been told to
“go with the flow”
but as you know
from your studies,
there is no flow,
nor is there actually
any coming or going.
These are merely
helpful concepts
for the novice monk.
You can start smoking again,
and what is called “your death”
and what is called “your life”
you can watch now
through the eyes of wisdom.
This is why
the Sages of Japan
named their cigarettes
“Hope” and “Peace”
and “Peace Light” and “Short Hope”
and “Short Hope Light.”

The Cold

The cold seizes me
and I shiver
The wine
overthrows my tears
The night puts me to bed
and the sorrows
strengthen my resolve
Your name is burning
under a statue
Even when I was with you
I wanted to be here
The rain unhooks my belt
The wind gives a shape
to your absence
I move in and out
of the One Heart
no longer struggling
to be free

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7 Comments

Filed under leonard cohen, poetry

7 responses to “i was doing something, i don’t remember what, i was standing in a place…

  1. I have a hard time reading poetry for some reason; it seems to bring my buried ADD to the forefront. But these shorter pieces are just right, and they make me want to be a better writer.

  2. captainfearless

    Leonard Cohen is always good for a bit of inspiration if you get the chance you should read his novel: beautiful losers.

  3. Barb: I find I read poetry quite fast, so I always have to reread to make sure its sunk in. Glad you enjoyed the poems.

    Fearless: Reading it did provide some good inspiration. Yes, its on the list!

  4. Hahahahaha to Barbara’s comment.
    I like poets who don’t try too hard to be clever. LC is one. His words/lyrics go straight into your head, heart and soul

  5. I have to agree, he gets to you with his simplicity, in the best possible sense.

  6. Liz

    Love this. I am a big Cohen fan. Def check out Beautiful Losers.

  7. I will get thee to a book store as soon possible. It sounds like a great read.

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