Terminally Ill Christopher Hitchens Writes About “If It Be Your Will” By Leonard Cohen

When you fall ill, people send you CDs. Very often, in my experience, these are by Leonard Cohen. So I have recently learned a song, entitled “If It Be Your Will.” It’s a tiny bit saccharine, but it’s beautifully rendered and it opens like this:

If it be your will,
That I speak no more:
And my voice be still,
As it was before …

I find it’s best not to listen to this late at night. Leonard Cohen is unimaginable without, and indissoluble from, his voice. (I now doubt that I could be bothered, or bear, to hear that song done by anybody else.)quotedown2

Christopher Hitchens


Christopher Hitchens, writing in “Unspoken Truths” (Vanity Fair, June 2011) about the diagnosis, treatment, and course of the malignant cancer that has attacked his vocal cords. While I have focused on the small portion that addresses Leonard Cohen, the complete article is poignant, thoughtful, and insightful.

Update: Christopher Hitchens died December 15, 2011,

Note: Originally posted May 10, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric