I don’t know about you, but since lockdown started I’ve really struggled to read anything. My scattered brain keeps wandering off to poke and worry at other things, and suddenly books I’d normally tear through are being read over months instead. I’m really missing my escapes into books and so, in an attempt to get my reading mojo back, I turned to the poetry of one of my favourites.
I’ve been a fan of Leonard Cohen for a very long time so it was no surprise that the Book of Longing, containing poetry, lyrics, and illustrations ruminating on love, sex, aging, spirituality and more that all display his customary wryness, really floated my boat. I’m not normally a particular fan of poetry – I’d much rather listen to a song – but the fact that it was Leonard’s words I was reading helped me to give it more of a chance, while the fact that each piece lasted no longer than my shattered attention span could manage certainly helped to make my lunch breaks much, much better.
You can almost hear that wonderfully gravelly voice murmuring these words to you as you turn the pages, and even amidst the sadness and disappointment I’ve been feeling as some of the people in my life reveal themselves not to be who I thought they were, he still managed to make me smile. Life’s not always easy, but Leonard Cohen always manages to make me feel that even when things are at their darkest there is always, to paraphrase one of his songs, a crack that lets the light in.