Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

By Erin Kavanagh-Hall

A tribute to Leonard Cohen, 1934-2016

You turned up in a song.

A slow one. Plodding.

Melancholy, dirge-like, referencing God.

He wasn’t to everyone’s taste.


Slow, plodding, he’d arrive at your apartment

where you’d ply him with poetry and imported tea

(not to everyone’s taste).

And you sat and watched the water.


Plied with poetry and imported tea, you’d twirl,

a plastic box trinket in your second-hand skirt,

and drape yourself in feathers. He’d sit and watch the water

and call you half-crazy.


In your second-hand glory, you’d walk him along the harbour.

See the pretty church, and the sailors doused in holy water,

to protect from the real thing. He’d call you half-crazy,

And she’d laugh. You weren’t his to keep.


Doused in shame, he wrote of the pretty church and the sailors.

Buried his feelings beneath wisdom, beneath the seaweed.

You weren’t his to keep. Promised to another, who fashioned you

in stone. Stronger than words.


His song, full of seaweed and sailors, was a success.

He saw you maybe twice after that. You sold the apartment,

changed your hair. Biting back your strong words.

For all your efforts, you didn’t get a penny.


But no matter.

It was a beautiful song.