“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

“Back in Montreal. As for the past, children, Roshi, songs, Greece, Los Angeles. What was that all about?” Leonard Cohen

This portion of the dialogue from the Leonard Cohen memorial video (the above image is a screenshot from that video) shown at the Nov 6, 2017 Montreal Tower Of Song Tribute Concert is from the Book Of Longing (drawing displayed below).


Collector’s Edition Of Leonard Cohen’s Le Livre du Désir [Book of Longing]

Dominique BOILE sends this scan of the cover of a new rare limited collector’s edition of Le Livre du Désir [Book of Longing] by Leonard Cohen.

Publisher: Points, France (Points Poésie Collection)
Language: French
Translated by: Jacques Vassal & Jean Dominique Brierre
Year: Nov 2017
Pages: 283
ISBN: 978-2-7578-6870-6

French Collector’s Edition Of Leonard Cohen’s Book Of Longing To Be Published

Dominique BOILE alerts us that a collector’s edition of Leonard Cohen’s Book Of Longing will be published in France, in paperback, on November 2, 2017.

Publisher: Le Cherche Midi
Collection: Points Poésie
French Title: Le Livre du Désir
Language: French
ISBN-10: 2757868705
ISBN-13: 978-2757868706
Translation by Jacques Vassal & Jean-Dominique Brierre

“My only success is the fact that I’ve been able to get to the desk.” Leonard Cohen


I think that the content of that work at the moment of arrival at the page is exactly the strategy that allows you to get there. Because getting there is the trick, getting there is the trouble. But once you get there, once your life is organised so beautifully so that there is a table, a chair, a typewriter, that is an incredible triumph. Most people give up … My mind is not particularly fertile. My only success is the fact that I’ve been able to get to the desk. My whole life has been trying to arrange those moments when I take care of everything that is not in the room, and have the moment to arrive. And usually what I am writing about is everything I’ve had to do to get to the moment of writing at the desk.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


June 22, 2006 Leonard Cohen interview by Michael Silverblatt on KCRW Bookworm. Description of interview from KCRW website:

Leonard Cohen talks about his early years as a poet in Montreal; his novel, Beautiful Losers; his songs; and now, ten years since his last book and fifty years since his first, the vicissitudes and recoveries that led to the art, lyrics and poems in his new Book of Longing.

Listen to or download the entire interview at KCRW Bookworm.

Originally posted Nov 3, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“The sadness of the zoo will fall upon society” Leonard Cohen Poem Quoted In March 15, 2016 Article “What Happens After Trump?”

Note: The following post was published here Mar 17, 2016, following an email I revived from Leonard Cohen alerting me to this item. Because the email contained a technical abnormality, I wrote back to assure it was actually from him. He confirmed he had sent it and added, “I thought it was an interesting item. Nobody ever quoted from that poem before.” Given the current situation in America. reposting this entry seems appropriate.

The pertinent excerpt is from What happens after Trump? by Bernie Quigley (The Hill: March 15, 2016):

What Trump portends is yet beyond our seeing. Maybe it is harbinger to that time poet Leonard Cohen prophesied in ‘Book of Longing’: ‘The public yearning for Order will invite many stubborn uncompromising persons to impose it. The sadness of the zoo will fall upon society.’quotedown2



The poem referenced is “Moving Into A Period” from Book of Longing (2006) by Leonard Cohen:

We are moving into a period of bewilderment, a curious moment in which people find light in the midst of despair, and vertigo at the summit of their hopes. It is a religious moment also, and here is the danger. People will want to obey the voice of Authority, and many strange constructs of just what Authority is will arise in every mind. The family will appear again as the Foundation, much honoured, much praised, but those of us who have been pierced by other possibilities, we will merely go through the motions, albeit the motions of love. The public yearning for Order will invite many stubborn uncompromising persons to impose it. The sadness of the zoo will fall upon society.

You and I, who yearn for blameless intimacy, we will be unwilling to speak even the first words of inquisitive delight, for fear of reprisals. Everything desperate will live behind a joke. But I swear that I will stand within the range of your perfume.

How severe seems the moon tonight, like the face of an Iron Maiden, instead of the usual indistinct idiot.

If you think Freud is dishonoured now, and Einstein, and Hemingway, just wait and see what is to be done with all that white hair, by those who come after me.

But there will be a Cross, a sign, that some will understand; a secret meeting, a warning, a Jerusalem hidden in Jerusalem. I will be wearing white clothes, as usual, and I will enter The Innermost Place as I have done generation upon generation, to entreat, to plead, to justify. I will enter the chamber of the Bride and Bridegroom, and no one will follow me.

Have no doubt, in the near future we will be seeing and hearing much more of this sort of thing from people like myself.

DrHGuy Note: The poem is indeed rarely quoted. A search this morning turned up only one other quotation from “Moving Into A Period” (other than in articles about Leonard Cohen such as reviews of Book Of Longing and a 2014 Words By Leonard Cohen DrHGuy.com post): editorial – rt82 (RealTime Arts Magazine #82: Dec-Jan 2007)

Credit Due Department: The Unified Heart symbol was found on same page of Book Of Longing as “Moving Into A Period.”

Hear Leonard Cohen Recite 6 Poems & Talk About The Book of Longing, Roshi, Irving Layton, Aging ….

booklonginxgIn May 2006, Shelagh Rogers interviewed Leonard Cohen about his just published collection of poetry, Book Of Longing. In addition to touching on a number of topics, including his stay at the Mt Baldy Zen monastery, Leonard reads the following poems:

  • Layton’s Question
  • Fun
  • Only One Thing Made Him Happy
  • Disturbed This Morning
  • Fun
  • Titles

Leonard Cohen on The Book Of Longing
CBC Interview with Shelagh Rogers: May 2006

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