Catching winter in their carved nostrils
the traitor birds have deserted us,
leaving only the dullest brown sparrows
for spring negotiations.
I told you we were fools
to have them in our games,
but you replied:
They are only wind-up birds
who strut on scarlet feet
so hopelessly far
from our curled fingers.
I had moved to warn you,
but you only adjusted your hair
Their wings are made of glass and gold
and we are fortunate
not to hear them splintering
against the sun.
Now the hollow nests
sit like tumors or petrified blossoms
between the wire branches
and you, an innocent scientist,
question me on these brown sparrows:
whether we should plant our yards with breadcrumbs
or mark them with the black persistent crows
whom we hate and stone.
But what shall I tell you of migrations
when in this empty sky
the precise ghosts of departed summer birds
still trace old signs;
or of desperate flights
when the dimmest flutter of a colored wing
excites all our favorite streets
to delight in imaginary spring.
De snode vogels vatten de winter in hun gekerfde snavel,
daarna hebben ze ons in de steek gelaten
en lieten slechte mussen achter van het saaiste bruin
om met de lente een akkoord te sluiten.
Ik zei dat we gek waren
hen in ons spel toe te laten
maar jij antwoordde:
Het zijn maar opwindvogels
die pronken op vuurrode pootjes
zo hopeloos ver
van onze gekromde vingers
Ik wilde je waarschuwen
maar je legde slechts je haren goed
hun vleugels zijn van glas en goud
en we mogen ons gelukkig prijzen
dat we niet horen hoe ze versplinteren
tegen de zon.
Nu zitten de holle nesten
als tumors of versteende bloesems
tussen de telegraafdraden
en jij, een onschuldige wetenschapper
ondervraagt me over de bruine mussen:
of we in onze tuin broodkruimels moeten zaaien
of hem af moeten zetten met zwarte taaie kraaien
die we haten en met stenen verjagen.
Maar wat kan ik je zeggen over migraties
als in deze lege lucht
de precieze geesten van verdwenen zomervogels
nog steeds oude tekens trekken;
of over wanhopige vluchten
als het dofste geruis van een bonte vlerk
al onze favoriete straten vult
met de vreugde van een denkbeeldige lente.
uit: Let us compare Mythologies, Mc Gill Poetry Series, 1956, Montreal – vertaling: Katelijne De Vuyst
It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away. We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.
Met groot verdriet geven wij kennis dat legendarische dichter, songwriter en artiest, Leonard Cohen is overleden. Wij hebben een van de meest vereerde en visionaire musici verloren. Een herdenking zal plaatsvinden in Los Angeles op een later tijdstip. De familie verzoekt privacy in deze periode van rouw. https:/www.facebook.com/leonardcohen/
Ik was niet helemaal verrast door dit nieuws sinds zijn laatste album ‘You want it darker (oktober 2016) waarvan de hoes ontworpen werd door de Bruggeling Sammy Slabbinck:
Mr. Cohen’s record label, Sony Music, confirmed the death. No details were available on the cause. Adam Cohen, his son and producer, said: “My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records. He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor.”
Nog enkele passages uit het In Memoriam in The New York Times:
Leonard Norman Cohen was born in Montreal on Sept. 21, 1934, and grew up in the prosperous suburb of Westmount. His father, Nathan, whose family had emigrated to Canada from Poland, owned a successful clothing store; he died when Leonard was 9, but his will included a provision for a small trust fund, which later allowed his son to pursue his literary and musical ambitions. His mother, the former Masha Klonitzky, a nurse, was of Lithuanian descent and the daughter of a Talmudic scholar and rabbi. “I had a very messianic childhood,” Mr. Cohen would later say.
Mr. Cohen, raised Jewish and observant throughout his life, became interested in Zen Buddhism in the late 1970s and often visited the Mount Baldy monastery, east of Los Angeles. Around 1994, he abandoned his music career altogether and moved to the monastery, where he was ordained a Buddhist monk and became the personal assistant of Joshu Sasaki, the Rinzai Zen master who led the center, who died in 2014. He took the name Jikan, which means “silence.”
Mr. Cohen never married, though he had numerous liaisons and several long-term relationships, some of which he wrote about. His survivors include two children, Adam and Lorca, from his relationship with Suzanne Elrod, a photographer and artist who shot the cover of his 1973 album, “Live Songs,” and is pictured on the cover of his critically derided album “Death of a Ladies’ Man” (1977); and three grandchildren.
“The changeless is what he’s been about since the beginning,” the writer Pico Iyer argued in the liner notes for the anthology “The Essential Leonard Cohen.” “Some of the other great pilgrims of song pass through philosophies and selves as if through the stations of the cross. With Cohen, one feels he knew who he was and where he was going from the beginning, and only digs deeper, deeper, deeper.” – Leonard Cohen, Epic and Enigmatic Songwriter, Is Dead at 82 by Larry Rohter, The New York Times, 10 november 2016
Rest in Peace, Leonard Cohen.