A Leonard Cohen Kind of Day…

Back in the old days (2007-2008) I had a blog called Wandering Mind. It was mostly poetry I posted there, but I also posted random stuff like the music I like, novel excerpts, articles, etc. Once it hit 30,000 hits, I took it offline. I figured that was enough views of my bad poetry. (-;


This post is a compilation of a few posts I did over at Wandering Mind on Leonard Cohen. In 2008 I took my daughter to a Cohen concert…we both worship in theChurchofCohen(much to the chagrin of the rest of the family!).


I was just remembering that concert this morning while listening to some Cohen. So, I decided I would post the following here:


Leonard Cohen is in Toronto

There’s a monster poet in town,
a laureate linguist, circus clown.
You can hear his heartbeat
in the city’s newfound heat,
the strum of bellows
in his liquid lungs, in flex.
I’ll take communion
within the milky thighs
of his every waking word,
take refuge in the spring
he calls to life
with his fervent golden voice.
There’s a God of light in town,
an ancient thread to beauty gone.
You can see his glow
above the night,
lift your hands into the bright,
and with nothing on your tongue
but a cold and broken hallelujah.



The following poem is based on an incident mentioned in a Leonard Cohen bio. I loved the idea of these 2 poets hurtling through space on the Trans-Canada, forgetting everything but the words they shared. Leave it to poets to forget to mind a gas gauge… twice!


The Farmer’s Wife

(A retelling of an incident in the lives of Leonard Cohen and Irving Layton)


The farmer’s wife,

perhaps with a hint of a smile

on her wind-hardened face,

traces her willowy hands

through the work-stained apron

that covers her solid frame.

She has but one word

for the marauding poets,

stranded by the highway, laughing.

consecutive trips find them wanting…

what with opening the cosmos

with their wakening words,

they drove on in the midnight dark,

not stopping for the needed fuel

that would bring them to their now-forgotten destiny.

Running a hand across her weary brow,

she sighs,

looks to a sky not yet bruised

to the plum of dawn.

“Poets!” she exclaims

with a weariness bred of morning labour.

She walks away from the door,

leavingLaytonto lean on its splintery frame,

while Cohen, sitting still in the dew

of his wakening mind, titters,

unable to believe the fortune

of landing, yet again,

on this kind woman’s porch.

Poets traveling onward of a night

can never be trusted

to find their distant shore…

but a beacon in dust,

a work-weary Mother of men,

they will trip upon lightly,

She, a harvest of needful things,

brought forth by the patron saint

resurrected to protect

the flighty of mind,

the absent men of omnipotent vision,

and masters of words un-spun.



Leonard Cohen – June 8th, 2008 inToronto – A Night of Intense Prayer


I’m still high from the concert last night. I have been beating my head against a wall trying to come up with the right words to describe the experience. And I’m a writer. I work with words on a daily basis. I look around me at these word bricks and none are bright enough… none are majestic enough… none will do. These bricks are blasé. They just will not capture the essence of the experience no matter how I rearrange them and sort through them for prettier ones that may be trapped at the bottom of the pile. It’s sad when that happens– when you have so much you want to say and you can’t find the words to say it. A friend asked me today what it was like. In my frustration I blurted out, “It’s like being in Church on the very day that God shows up!”


Beautiful is a generic word… it’s used so often it has kind of lost most of its meaning. I wanted to say the concert was beautiful, but it wasn’t enough.


What I saw: 10 year-olds and 90 year-olds. Suits, evening gowns, shorts and tank tops. Sweats and jeans and mops and raven-twisted beauty parlor miracles. Bald heads, aged heads, liver spots and creamy complexions of eternal youth. Leonard Cohen is a man for all of these people. He is a maestro for the ages. It’s a strange thing to go to a concert where children run with the ancient. But it is a beautiful thing (there’s that impotent word again).


What I heard: Dance Me to the End of Love, The Future, Ain’t no Cure for Love, Bird On a Wire, Everybody Knows, In My Secret Life, Who By Fire, Anthem, Tower of Song, Suzanne, Gypsy Wife, Boogie Street, Hallelujah, Democracy, I’m your Man, A Thousand Kisses Deep, Take This Waltz, Waiting for the Miracle, First We Take Manhattan, That don’t Make it Junk, If it be Your Will, Closing Time, I Tried to Leave You, and last but not least a prayer for leaving, Wither Thou Goest.


What I experienced: Total Inner Peace.


The audience… that’s the most unique thing about a Leonard Cohen concert, besides the man himself. There is a love emanating from every person present… too much love. More than they know what to do with. And there is Leonard on the stage receiving it all… appreciative of it all and sending it back in folds uncountable.


I remember being 8 and 9 years old (that was over 30 years ago now), listening to Cohen albums on my turntable and losing myself in his language–in his words. I was able to do that last night while he performed his 3rdTorontosell-out performance. I was lost in his golden voice, in the music, in the applause and prayers of the audience. It is a concert I will never forget.


Thank you, Leonard.



By Kevin Craig

Author, Poet, Playwright. Author of The Camino Club, Billions of Beautiful Hearts, and Book of Dreams, all from Duet Books, the LGBTQ Young Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press. Other books: Pride Must Be A Place, Half Dead & Fully Broken, Burn Baby Burn Baby, The Reasons, Sebastian's Poet, and Summer on Fire.

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