Monday, November 28, 2016


The first version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" that I heard was sung by Jeff Buckley.  It was recorded in 1994. My first listening was early in June of 1997, soon after Jeff Buckley drowned in the Mississippi River at age 30.  I listened and wept and felt immense gratitude.  I had not heard Leonard Cohen's version.  Although I've heard many many versions since then, none moved me again in that way until I heard the Yiddish version by Daniel Kahn soon after Leonard Cohen's death.

Yesterday my copy of Leonard Cohen's final songs arrived in the mail. I listened to it in my car while doing the things I needed to do yesterday and was deeply moved by words like these:

"...When I turned my back on the devil / Turned my back on the angel too..."

"... I heard the snake was baffled by his sin ..."

Although I was expecting only 8 songs, when what I thought was the final song ended just as I arrived home, I realized that there was a 9th track.  Something told me to wait to listen to it until today when I got into my car at 7 a.m., on my way to get together with a group of eccentric friends for what serves well as our breakfast together.  I want to give anyone who hasn't heard the CD the opportunity to have their own experience of that final track.  My guess is that I'll be listening to Leonard Cohen's final songs in my car for some time to come.

In the meantime, here's the song called "Treaty":


Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about getting Leonard Cohen's final album. It would be good to hear his last songs and words.

am said...

robin andrea -- Each time I listen to Leonard Cohen's final album, and I only listen to it in my car, I hear something new and startling. This morning I went out early again to meet with my friends. I've been listening to these songs for a little over a week now. From the beginning to the end, Leonard Cohen spoke to us through paradox and koan and dark humor about love and death and grief and mystery and gratitude.

Just found a definition of treaty that gives me more to meditate on:

"When a war ends, often two countries will sign a treaty, which is a contract where both sides agree to behave a certain way. The Latin root of treaty is tractare, which means “handle.”