“Beneath my hands your small breasts are the upturned bellies of breathing fallen sparrows” From The Spice-Box Of Earth & The Favourite Game By Leonard Cohen

Beneath my hands 
your small breasts 
are the upturned bellies 
of breathing fallen sparrows.

These lines are the first stanza of a poem originally published in The Spice-Box of Earth by Leonard Cohen; they also appear in Cohen’s novel, The Favourite Game, as poetry written by Breavman to his lover Shell. The entire poem can be found at LeonardCohenFiles. Originally posted Sept 5, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I still pack [Leonard Cohen] like a sleeping pill, a beautiful ghost to surrender to, a spiritual songster for these unspiritual times.” Ahmed Rashid

Throughout my life I have taken Cohen everywhere and I have done so like many others for wanting the poetry of love and tolerance, musical harmony and his gruff voice to end days of covering wars and political conflict as a journalist. Whenever I travel I still pack him like a sleeping pill, a beautiful ghost to surrender to, a spiritual songster for these unspiritual times. In a 1993 interview he came closest to defining his credo:

“I am completely open and transparent and therefore its easy for anyone to grasp the emotion that’s there. I am the person who tries everything and experience myself as falling apart. I try drugs, Jung, Zen meditation, love and it all falls apart at every moment. And the place where it all comes out is in the critical examination of those things – the songs. And because of this, I am vulnerable. There’s the line in ‘Anthem’ that says, ‘There’s a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.’ That sums it up: it’s as close to a credo as I’ve come.”quotedown2

Ahmed Rashid


From Death Of Leonard Cohen by Ahmed Rashid (ahmedrashid.com: November 11 2016). Photo by Chatham House – Ahmed Rashid, Journalist; Author, Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the West, CC  Wikipedia Commons

Also see Why I Love Leonard Cohen by Ahmed Rashid (New York Review of Books: Nov 15, 2012)

Thanks to Klaus Offermann, who alerted me to Death Of Leonard Cohen by Ahmed Rashid

“If anyone’s gotten a special dispensation, it’s Leonard Cohen. He keeps telling us he’s going, but he never does. We are grateful for his inaccuracy, and surprised by how wrong he was.”


Though Cohen loves the tragicomic mode, he occasionally drops the hammer and lets his knowledge of scripture, official and otherwise, inform his darkness. “Steer Your Way,” the last full song on the album, shows us the way of Cohen’s gentleness with the perfidy around him: forgiveness, first of the self. The backing music is a coded joke, a string quartet trading time with a tiny country-fiddle motif. And when Cohen trawls through sin, and its wages, he’s not so bad with meter and rhyme: “They whisper still, the injured stones, the blunted mountains weep. As he died to make men holy, let us die to make things cheap, and say the Mea Culpa, which you’ve probably forgot.” Charming fellow, but he sees himself, and us. How your year, and the rest, ends is in that mea culpa.quotedown2

Sasha Frere-Jones

Navigating the Darkness With David Bowie, Nick Cave, and Leonard Cohen by Sasha Frere-Jones (Village Voice: 09 November 2016). A thoughtful, essay on the latter-day works of these artists.

Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker #1 On UK Independent Record Store Chart


Launched in conjunction with the Record Store Day celebrations of 2012, the UK Record Store Chart aims to support Britain’s independent music shops and is compiled entirely from sales registered at 100 of those leading outlets.

From Leonard Cohen, Elvis Presley lead UK Record Store Chart By Live4ever (Live4Ever: 31 Oct 2016)

Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker #1 In Ireland & The Netherlands

blknethire In the past hour, I serendipitously came across two articles, each announcing the ascension of Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker to #1 in national sales,  Leonard Cohen tops the Irish charts with You Want it Darker by Caitlyn Stewart (Hot Press: Oct 28, 2016) and Leonard Cohen aan de top in Album Top 100 (De Telegraaf: Oct 28, 2016)

More Information About You Want It Darker

Information about You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen, including reviews, is collected and updated at Info & Updates: Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker

A Non-Tobacco Possibility About Leonard Cohen’s Cigarette On The You Want It Darker Cover


The Cigarette (on the) Cover Story

The cigarette held by Leonard Cohen on the cover of his new album, You Want It Darker, has drawn a surprising amount of interest, including comments by the album’s producer, Adam Cohen, and by Leonard Cohen himself, and has become the latest chapter in the complex and captivating story of Leonard’s tobacco use.1  You Want It Darker Isn’t Leonard Cohen’s First Smoking Album Cover summarizes the speculations about that cigarette on the cover. But, it turns out that tobacco isn’t necessarily involved.


We [My father, Leonard Cohen, and I] would listen to a song on repeat like teenagers, with the help of medical marijuana, for sometimes hours.quotedown2

Adam Cohen


So, was Leonard burning some rope when that photo was taken? Does “You Want It Darker” refer to his preferences in medical marijuana strains? Is a cover of Brewer & Shipley’s One Toke Over The Line in the offing? Well, probably not, but the idea does make for a Saturday morning sort of divertissement.

More importantly, Adam’s heartwarming and intimate account of working with his father on the new album can be heard in its entirety below:

More Information About You Want It Darker

Information about You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen is collected and updated at Info & Updates: Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker


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