Tribute to Lenny

When I was a student at Glasgow University I went to a party at the home  of my friend Big Frank, in Bathgate Street, in Glasgow’s East End.
At some point in the evening I heard a song on a sampler album.
It was Sisters of Mercy, by Leonard Cohen, which contains the lines:
‘If your life is a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn
They will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem’.
And I was hooked.
I first saw him perform live in Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall in 1972.
And, for the last time, outdoors on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle in 2008.

photograph by anelephantcant

photograph by anelephantcant

This poem, inspired by The Stranger Song, is a tribute to one of the great poets of the last century, who became an extraordinary singer/songwriter.

But, more importantly, he was a beautiful person.

Click here to hear the following poem read aloud:

The Stranger

in the night the dreams return
eliminate all scents and flavours
I hear the words of Leonard Cohen
I told you when I came I was a stranger

I live my life as each one must
I stumble in and out of danger
whenever trouble comes I say
I told you when I came I was a stranger

each lady falls under my spell
each thinks she is my saviour
I speak the truth each time I leave
I told you when I came I was a stranger

so now though I am old and grey
I cannot alter my behaviour
love departs and laughs at me
I told you when I came I was a stranger

she of course was different
until I hurt and shamed her
my one defence for all the pain
I told you when I came I was a stranger

now in the night the ghosts return
to remind me how I changed her
I broke her loving heart and lied
I told you when I left you were a stranger

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7 Responses to Tribute to Lenny

  1. Al says:

    A beautiful tribute to a very gifted artist.


  2. Dale says:



  3. mandibelle16 says:

    Wonderful portrait. It caught my eye, I’m impressed you drew it. I was sad to here of his passing. I love Hallelujah, it’s always been a comforting song for me. Your poem is interesting, he always keeps that distance and never commits. When he leaves a woman they are now “strangers” and even though he seems to know there is one who loves him and he could love, he remains a stranger. I guess it’s easier never to expose yourself inside.


  4. Michael Wynn says:

    Fantastic. Really fitting tribute.


  5. A great man, poet and unusual singer.
    He will be missed.
    R.I.P. 🙏


  6. Dear Elephant,

    There’s much to sob about this dark, grey morning. Lovely tribute to one of my all time favorites who danced us all to the end of love.




  7. ceayr says:

    Reblogged this on Sound Bite Fiction and commented:
    A great poet, singer/songwriter, and musician.

    Thank you for the memories, Mr Cohen.


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