‘Book of Longing’ by Leonard Cohen

This attractive book of Leonard Cohen’s poetry, prose-poems and artwork, was taken from content that first appeared on http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com.  Some became song lyrics, and many in their current form, do have that feel.  Indeed, it is these shorter and more lyrical pieces of writing that speak to me the most.  Consider stanza 7 from the poem, ‘Better’.
 
better than darkness
is darkless
which is inkier, vaster
more profound
and eerily refrigerated
filled with caves
and blinding tunnels
in which appear
beckoning dead relatives
and other religious
paraphernalia
 
Some of the poetry is bewildering and clever, and I become overly aware of how many references I don’t understand.  This is nobody’s fault but mine. The poem, ‘Fun’ is about believing in God.
It is so much fun
to believe in G-d
You must try it sometime
Try it now
and find out whether
or not
G-d wants you
to believe in Him.
 
And another short poem is called ‘Thousands’. It simply reads:
 
Out of the thousands
who are known,
or who want to be known
as poets,
maybe one or two
are genuine
and the rest are fakes,
hanging around the sacred precincts
trying to look like the real thing.
Needless to say
I am one of the fakes,
and this is my story.
 
Shorter still is ‘Sorrows of the Elderly’.
 
The old are kind.
The young are hot.
Love may be blind.
Desire is not.
 
The shorter and snappier poems appeal more to those of us who aren’t poets and aren’t that well informed either.  However, I intend to pick up this book on future occasions and attempt to understand more of what I haven’t already picked up! 

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