DrHGuy Note: David Peloquin and I discovered that we shared a passion for one of Leonard Cohen’s deepest themes: the poet’s timeless relationship with the Muse. Moreover, the different pathways that led each of us to this subject coincided at the consolamentum – a concept that resides at the core of Cohen’s work yet is almost unexplored in that context. This video is the introduction to a continuing exploration of the consolamentum of Leonard Cohen. All material on this issue can always be found through the The Consolamentum of Leonard Cohen Page
The Front Porch Video Session: July 15, 2015
Summer in the woods of Maine brings a stream of family and friends to our home. My partner Stephanie’s son, Adam, is a prize-winning documentary film maker. Adam was kind enough to bring his professional video equipment to film what I hoped might be an introduction to this project. On the day before the shoot, I typed out the lyrics to Sisters of Mercy and added a few brief notes.The following day, we filmed the talk in one take with no breaks or edits.
What you will see is an informal, impromptu discussion of a work in progress. The format is very similar to what happens when my students gather here at the pond to study together. These musings will eventually lead to an essay on the Sisters of Mercy that will be posted here on Cohencentric. I thought it might be of interest for some to see the rough ramblings that eventually sift down to a (hopefully) engaging essay. Leonard uses an expression I like. He talks about songs that show a bit the process; the ‘carpentry’. There is plenty of carpentry in this film! At the end of the film, I give a final Cohen verse from Boogie Street, inadvertently leaving out a line. The full quote is:
So come my love, be not afraid.
We are so lightly here.
It is in love that we are made;
In love we disappear.
After the talk was recorded, we set up on the front porch to film a performance of Sisters of Mercy. When I listened to the track, I realized that I had substituted “waiting so long” for “traveling so long”. I had also been working on Waiting for the Miracle, and I think that either phrase can work. One becomes just as exhausted in life by traveling or by waiting. Being too tired to move on makes one vulnerable, and ripe for a hidden en-counter with the Sisters.
I trust that this ongoing conversation will be a rich and varied one. Allan and I have no specific plans other than to open the discussion and let it unfold organically. I have seen some of his findings, and I look forward to combining our resources in this exploration. To my knowledge, no one yet has fully unfolded this theme in Leonard’s work before, and I look forward to the adventure.
I would like to thank Allan Showalter for giving me this opportunity to speak with the wider world of Leonard Cohen. Thanks to Adam Muri-Rosenthal for his generous offer to produce this little film. A special thanks also to Jill Harsant who drew me out of my quiet retreat to engage a wider audience. And finally, thanks to the readers of my es-says who have offered their appreciation and encouragement.
From the woods of Maine
The Sisters Of Mercy & The Consolamentum of Leonard Cohen
By David Peloquin
Produced by Adam Muri-Rosenthal
YouTube Channel: Allan Showalter