I wrote the following in a letter to a friend back in August. Farewell, Mr. Cohen; thank you for the words…
With all the Doom & Gloom (sounds like a firm of Undertakers), it was nice this week to come across this…somewhat sad, somewhat lovely…little item.
And I just wanted to share it – simply because it is lovely and, anyway, I always think that Leonard Cohen is a true Romantic.
I’m sure you’ve heard his beautiful song So long, Marianne, which was written about a gorgeous young Norwegian woman (I’m just looking at her photo here) that he was in love with back in the summer of their lives, having met her in 1960.
Well, as these things happen, they split up in 1970. She was quite conventional and Cohen had for a while slipped into a lifestyle of drugs and groupies. But in 1992 he said of the woman who inspired his famous song:
“Marianne, the woman of So long, Marianne, when I hear her voice on the phone, I know something is completely intact, even though our lives have separated and we’ve gone our different paths.”
Well, Marianne died last week on June 29th, of leukemia, 46 years after they separated. She was living in Oslo and was 81 years of age, the same age as her one-time lover. When he heard that she had been taken to hospital he sent this letter, which was read out to her two days before she passed:
“Well, Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.
“And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and for your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey.
“Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”