Leonard Cohen--Canadian


Leonard Cohen
(1934-    )
Most people know Leonard Cohen through his music.  Born in Montreal, Canada in 1934, Cohen published his
first book of poetry in 1956, Let Us Compare Mythologies, followed by his first novel, in 1965.  Other books of
poetry include: The Spice-Box of Earth, 1961 and Flowers for Hitler, in 1964. His earliest songs were collected
on an album, the Songs of Leonard Cohen, released in 1968.  Cohen’s work often deals with complex issues and
has been influential for many other songwriters.  Cohen has received a number of awards during his career,
including being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and
Companion of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honor.


This could be my little
book about love
if I wrote it—
but my good demon said:
'Lay off documents!'
Everybody was watching me
burn my books--
I swung my liberty torch
happy as a gestapo brute;
the only thing I wanted to save
was a scar
a burn or two—
but my good demon said:
'Lay off documents!
The fire's not important!'
The pile was safely blazing.
I went home to take a bath.
I phoned my grandmother.
She is suffering from arthritis.
'Keep well,' I said, 'don't mind the pain.'
'You neither,' she said.
Hours later I wondered
did she mean
don't mind my pain
or don't mind her pain?
Whereupon my good demon said:
'Is that all you can do?'
Well was it?
Was it all I could do?
There was the old lady
eating alone, thinking about
Prince Albert, Flanders Field,
Kishenev, her fingers too sore
for TV knobs;
but how could I get there?
The books were gone
my address lists—
My good demon said again:
'Lay off documents!
You know how to get there!'
And suddenly I did!
I remembered it from memory!
I found her
pouring over the royal family tree,

I almost said,
'you've got it upside down—‘
'Take a look,' she said,
'it only goes to George V.'
'That's far enough
you sweet old blood!'
'You're right!' she sang
and burned the
London Illustrated Souvenir
I did not understand
the day it was
till I looked outside
and saw a fire in every
window on the street
and crowds of humans
crazy to talk
and cats and dogs and birds
smiling at each other!

From Flowers for Hitler



All There Is To Know About Adolph Eichmann


















What did you expect?


Oversize Incisors?

Green saliva?



The Genius

("For you I will be a ghetto Jew ..")

For you
I will be a ghetto jew
and dance
and put white stockings
on my twisted limbs
and poison wells
across the town

For you
I will be an apostate jew
and tell the Spanish priest
of the blood vow
in the Talmud

For you
I will be a banker jew
and bring to ruin
a proud old hunting king
and end his line

For you
I will be a Broadway jew
and cry in theatres
for my mother
and sell bargain goods
beneath the counter

For you
I will be a doctor jew
and search
in all the garbage cans for foreskins
to sew back again

For you
I will be a Dachau jew
and lie down in lime
with twisted limbs
and bloated pain
no mind can understand

From The Spice-Box of Earth