Leonard Cohen

Book of Longing

“I can't make the hills
The system is shot
I'm living on pills
For which I thank G-d
I know she is coming
I know she will look
And that is the longing
And this is the book”

Leonard Cohen (1934-2016), was many things: a singer, writer, poet. The Book of Longing, written and illustrated by Cohen, contains poetry and verse written during the last years and moments of his life, his body breaking down, circling peace, his worries and doubts. A few small pleasures.

Cohen, a famous monastic, writes of the fear of being interrupted and things we keep around us and an anxiety he calls longing.

The Book of Longing is naturally about longing, but for what? Life, something that doesn’t end? The answer lies in Cohen’s words above, that someone, anyone, will carry this/it/all/part forward. That he and this will endure through simple human connection.

Additional praise of meaningful human connections can be found in warm, generous advice on life from Anna Deveare Smith and the work of psychiatrist Irving Yalom who offers empathetic connection as an antidote to death anxiety.