On November 7th 2016, Cohen passed away at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 82. A month back he had released his swan album “You Want it Darker.” It was a vintage Cohen – deep, dark and destructive. His voice had hope left, yet the words beckoned the coming journey which he probably knew was at his doorstep.
The first time I heard Cohen was at a friend’s house in 1980. His brother had a LP called Greatest Hits. There were 12 songs in that album. Each song was dedicated to a different woman as was explained at the back of the sleeve. I remember songs like Suzanne and Famous Blue Raincoat on that record.
There he was – the poet, the songwriter, the artist, and the singer. Cohen was there when I was low and down, he was there when I had hope flowing through my body, he was there when I would be drunk and reminiscing. For lots of moments in my life he was the hand that calmed me, he was the voice that controlled and soothed me, he was the ghost who walked with me. Right now I feel the sadness of a universe that has dimmed, the loss of a shoulder I could lean on. The shadows are whispering, and my words have dried to ashes.
And who by fire, who by water,
Who in the sunshine,
Who in the night time,
Who by high ordeal,
Who by common trial,
Who in your merry merry month of May,
Who by very slow decay,
And who shall I say is calling?