Ray Charles & Marianne – “Still companions of the heart / as I measure myself once more / against the high sweet standards / of my youth” Leonard Cohen 1978

While not as well known as his poem, “Days of Kindness,” Leonard Cohen’s “Much Later” from Book Of Longing also evocatively describes his days with Marianne, in this case, listening to Ray Charles in sun-drenched Hydra.

Much Later
From Book Of Longing by Leonard Cohen

Ray Charles singing You Win Again
in the sunlight
twenty years ago
Ray Charles the singer I would never be
and my young wife
‘the wife of my youth’
smiling at me from an upstairs room
in the old house
Ray Charles and Marianne
dear spirits of my Greek life
now in the sunshine of every new summer
Marianne coming down the steps
‘the woman of the house’
Ray Charles speaking fiercely
for our virgin humanity
Twenty years ago
and again in this Hollywood summer
still companions of the heart
as I measure myself once more
against the high sweet standards
of my youth

– Los Angeles 1978

“My little life: so loyal, so devoted to its obscure purposes – And, I hasten to report, doing fine without me.” Leonard Cohen


From Book Of Longing by Leonard Cohen

Peace did not come into my life.
My life escaped
and peace was there.
Often I bump into my life,
trying to catch its breath,
pay a bill,
or tolerate the news,
tripping as usual
over the cables
of someone’s beauty –
My little life:
so loyal,
so devoted to its obscure purposes –
And, I hasten to report,
doing fine without me.

DrHGuy Note: R.S.B. is, I suspect, Ramesh S. Balsekar

Hear Leonard Cohen Recite Poems & Talk About Life At Mt Baldy Zen Center, Writing Lyrics, His Kids… – 1998 Radio Interview

Chris Douridas interviewed Leonard Cohen on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic – March 3, 1998. Highlights include

  • “I’m a bad monk” – Life at Mt Baldy Zen Center, including cooking for Roshi
  • “No existential leap” – Leonard’s recitation of A Thousand Kisses Deep, including a line written that day
  • “The old are kind” – Leonard’s recitation of a quatrain
  • Discussion of Leonard’s participation in the Montreal poets group
  • The public’s belated discovery of Dance Me To The End Of Love
  • Leonard’s painstaking writing style
  • The influence of Mediterranean music
  • The work of his children, Adam & Lorca

Animated Interpretation Of “A Kite Is a Victim” by Leonard Cohen + 3 Other Canadian Poems

Poets on Film No. 1, Bozenna Heczko, Elizabeth Lewis, Janet Perlman & Gayle Thomas, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

This 1977 short film from the National Film Board Of Canada brings together animated interpretations of four poems by great Canadian wordsmiths: “Riverdale Lion” by John Robert Colombo, “A Kite Is a Victim” by Leonard Cohen, “Klaxon” by James Reaney and George Johnston’s “The Bulge.”

The “A Kite Is a Victim” by Leonard Cohen segment begins at 1:50.

“It was only when you walked away I saw you had the perfect ass… ” Leonard Cohen

It was only when you walked away I saw you had the perfect ass. Forgive me for not falling in love with your face or your conversation.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen
The Energy Of Slaves

Leonard Cohen On Sighting The Perfect Ass & Other Poems1
The Apollo in Glasgow: May 15, 1976
Video by Allan Showalter

The image atop this post is the back cover of The Energy Of Slaves (1972). Contributed by Dominique BOILE. Originally posted February 5, 2009 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. These poems are in the concert setlist:
    11. I did not know until you walked away…
    12. Come down to my room…
    13. A person who eats meat
    14. Valentina gave me four months…
    15. I know there is no such thing as hell or heaven…
    16. the 15-year old girls…
    17. The Music Crept by Us
    18. It’s Good to Sit with People… []

1957 Leonard Cohen: Poetry Recitations CD To Be Released Later This Year

Dominique BOILE alerts us to a CD Universe listing (also at Amazon) of a new CD to be released December 15, 2017. (The Japanese Tower site lists a release date of Nov 10, 2017)

When singer Leonard Cohen died in November 2016, the whole world mourned. He was a much loved Canadian singer, songwriter, musician, novelist and painter, whose work explored religion, politics, isolations, sexuality and personal relationships. He started writing poetry in the early 1950s and his first published book of poetry came out in 1956. He is probably best known for the music he started to record in the 1960s, but this collection of early recordings provides a fascinating insight into his modus operandi. Available here, for the first time, the listener is granted a rare glimpse into his creative process many years before he achieved fame and international respect.



  • For Wilf And His House (1955)
  • Beside the Shepherd (1956)
  • Poem (1955)
  • Lovers (1955)
  • The Sparrows (1955)
  • Warning (1956)
  • Les Vieus (1954)
  • Elegy (1955)

Note: These recordings are Leonard Cohen’s contributions to the Six Montreal Poets album released in 1957.

Hear Leonard Cohen Recite A Collection Of His Poems

Update: The original recording is no longer online.  A portion – a reading from the Poetry Center Archive: Leonard Cohen in 1966 is shown below

Leonard Cohen | Master Poems | Collection of poetry readings by Leonard Cohen | 1957-1993

From “Six Montreal Poets”, 1957 1. For Wilf and His House – Beside the Shepherd – Poem – Lovers – The Sparrows – Warning – Les Vieux – Elegy From Dunn’s Progressive Jazz Parlour, Montreal, Canada, 8th April 1958 2. Gift From “Ladies and Gentlemen…Mr Leonard Cohen”, 1965 3. Island Bulletin – Prayer for Messiah – A Kite is a Victim – Passage from “The Favourite Game” (“Here is a movie…”) – Passage from “The Favourite Game” (“The park…”) – Disguises – Passage from “The Favourite Game” (“Just beyond the green…”) – Beneath My Hands – Twelve O’Clock Chant – The Genius On Hearing a Name Long Unspoken (fragment) – Three Good Nights (fragment) – Alexander Trocchi, Public Junkie, Priez pour Nous (fragment) – Hydra 1963 (fragment) – The Only Tourist In Havana Turns His Thoughts Homeward – The Music Crept by Us

From the YM-YWHA Hotel, New York, USA, 14th February 1966 4. You All in White – For E.J.P. 5. You Have the Lovers From “Canadian Poets 1”, 1966 6. What I’m Doing Here – You Have the Lovers – Now of Sleeping – Style – Two Went to Sleep – Nothing Has Been Broken – These Heroics

From WNEW-FM, New York, USA, 28th April 1985 7. In the Eyes of Men From an unknown TV documentary 8. My Secret Life

From KCRW-FM, Los Angeles, USA, 1993 9. Poem 10. How to Speak Poetry 11. Marita 12. This is My Voice – The Only Poem 13. We Cry Out From “The United States of Poetry”, 1996 14. Democracy

From the YM-YWHA Hotel, New York, USA, 14th February 1966 15. Reading from “Beautiful Losers”

From an unknown radio program 16. My Top Ten

“Let’s sing for nothing” Leonard Cohen’s Visitation Of Poetry – Previously Unlisted 1967 U Of Manitoba Appearance Reviewed

Published in the Winnipeg Free Press, January 14, 1967, A Visitation Of Poetry by Chester Duncan (Dept of English; University of Manitoba) – which reviews a Leonard Cohen 1967 U Of Manitoba appearance not listed in any Cohen database – begins on an auspicious note:

When Leonard Cohen appeared at the University of Manitoba recently to read and sing his poems, I felt that it was an occasion of great importance and significance.

He compares that appearance with one by Cohen three years earlier,1 describing Cohen, in the 1964 performance.

… charm[ing] and teas[ing] and whip[ping] a very large audience into a frenzy of approval and merriment

while the audience at the more recent appearance was

… fascinated like a snake before the concentration and dedication of his melancholy.

As the author concludes,

The poet has the  benefit of a life frequently distinguished by instincts completely non-utilitarian. And if even Love can make nothing happen, he must still “sing for nothing.”

The reference is to this Leonard Cohen poem from Parasites Of Heaven

Ah, what were the names I gave you
before I learned all names go the do-do way?
Darlin, Golden, Meadowheart

I’ve been walking in the far green
I’ve lost what all the leaves are called
Elm, Chestnut, Silver

O come here you, thou
Bring all thy, bring all thine
Far into the splinter let’s sing for nothing

Originally posted July 12, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

  1. A poetry reading at Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – (University of Manitoba) dated only by month and year (Feb 1964) at CohenLive, which lists no Cohen appearances in Winnipeg in 1966 or 1967 []