Friday, November 11, 2016

Hallelujah



Baruch Dayan Ha’emet.
I can’t say anything here about Leonard Cohen that won’t be said and written on his brilliance for years to come. So I give this space to Cohen’s mentor and friend Irving Layton, who helped him get his first book of poems, 𝘓𝘦𝘵 𝘜𝘴 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘔𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘨𝘪𝘦𝘴, published in 1956. The two men each, in his own way, helped establish Montreal at a city of poetry and art. It was probably a complicated relationship; how could a friendship between poets not be? But it survived until Layton’s death in 2006. Leonard Cohen read Layton’s The Graveyard at the funeral. In the end, all that’s left are the words.
͏𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗰 𝗣𝗼𝗲𝘁
He affirmed life.
He affirmed it as though it were an extraordinary
rock melon, ripe,
and his discovery.
And with yelps of gladness
he affirmed the brave toilers;
he affirmed the martyrs
whose burning flesh
sizzled hosannahas.
In despair
of ever equalling the courage
he had himself endowed them with
he stepped thoughtfully
before a chauffeur-driven car.
To the end
he praised the beautiful courage
of workers and martyrs,
and expiring at the finish
of a long siren screech
died as he had lived
affirming life.