Leonard Cohen: I Have Lost My Only Hero

A man I never met, but saw perform once, has died. Leonard Cohen, the man whose poetry and music molded me like no other, is dead. Believe me, I do not worship celebrities; I scoff at hearing of people who cry or otherwise emote over the death of movie stars and the like. But tonight, on hearing of Leonard Cohen’s death, I cried. I wept. My wife tried to console me, but I could only continue weeping, wishing I had been his friend.

I wish I could have spoken with him about life and love and death and remembrance and disease and hatred and acceptance and a thousand other topics. When I listened to his music or read his poetry or prose, I felt like the man understood me like no one ever has. I felt like I lived through his words. My emotions were practice for the way he described them with his words. He was a genius, a man who understood emotion better than anyone understands language or art or mathematics.

Tonight, especially tonight, I am grieving for the loss of a man I will always consider the mentor and guide I never met. Leonard Cohen, your life meant so very much. It meant more to me than you, or anyone, will ever know. I survived thoughts of suicide because of you, my friend. Your words were never dark to me. They were light in the form of love.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Leonard Cohen: I Have Lost My Only Hero

  1. robin andrea says:

    I have no words only sympathy for the deep sense of loss you feel, John. It is a heartbreak that this poetic genius has left us.

  2. Holly Forrest says:

    When I am confronted with the loss of a great artist such as Cohen who meant much to me, I try to take comfort in the fact that his work endures after he’s gone.

    I understand that you are grieving. This is a blow on top of a bodyslam. All I can say is that his work has undoubtedly influenced many other writers and musicians you may not have discovered yet. After you have listened to his music as many times as you need to, you have a new path. Go in search. There is much creativity and goodness in this world.


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