LEONARD COHEN – DEAD AT 82

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen has passed from the earth. The great musician who was also part poet and part mystic. Did you know that he was a Buddhist monk?

 
In my own life, I am often reminded that I am a slow writer–not always, but often. I get the words on the page, and then I keep revising them. Always when the writing is best, the process seems to take longer. The thoughts become chiseled: more profound. The sentences get simpler over time, assume a cadence, a structure, a depth that evolves.
 
Well, Leonard Cohen was a decade writing the song Anthem.
 
Some things happen quickly and seem be just perfect the first time, but some things just can’t be rushed. I already knew that, but it was still a psychic gift to learn that about Cohen: nothing about life is meant to be rushed–perhaps especially one’s thoughts. Whatever else is art is, it’s about merging the mind with the soul; whether visual art, music, or poetry (all well-written literature seems to have a certain poetry about it).
 
Cohen’s words are best heard with their musical accompaniment, but they also stand alone:
 
From Anthem: “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
 
From Suzanne: “. . . look among the garbage and the flowers.”
 
From Hallelujah: “There’s a blaze of light In every word. It doesn’t matter which you heard. The holy or the broken Hallelujah”
 
Leonard Cohen’s words and his songs will be heard for a very long time, and his light will continue to seep through the cracks.
M L S Baisch
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A sense of connection . . .

Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks

“I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts,” Oliver Sacks – the “poet laureate of contemporary medicine”

 
Whatever else we are, we are our thoughts; and it is our thoughts that take us from one place to another–whether the place is an actual place, an emotional place, a metaphorical place, a place conjured up from memory, or a place divined to be in the future . . . there are many places, and they all reside within us. We go where we choose to go. And we do it so often, so thoughtlessly, so effortlessly most of the time that it escapes awareness: we forget that we are choosing.
 
Eventually, for some at least, the time comes when the internal life becomes at least as important as the external life, and that internal landscape takes on a life of it’s own. The past shapes itself into patterns, into countries; rivers run through it, and highways tend to lead one on to familiar places and back again: it is, indeed, a landscape with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts.
When, if, that time comes, there is no need to be ‘on the go’ all the time. The going becomes an internal event at least as interesting as any place one could possibly travel to in reality. The good earth becomes smaller–the garden is as interesting as foreign lands. The good life is counted in cats and chickens, beetles and frogs more than in Cadillacs and mansions, six-figure jobs and exotic vacations.
 
On the other hand, when that time comes, it’s not a bad thing to have had a fancy car or an exotic vacation. There is no experience, no possession, no relationship that is not precious; that can not be alchemized into something more than it was.
 
M L S Baisch