Sunday, 18 December 2016
Wednesday, 16 November 2016
"The candles burned, the moon went down
the polished hill, the milky town
transparent, weightless, luminous,
uncovering the two of us
on that fundamental ground,
where love's unwilled, unleashed, unbound
and half the perfect world is found"
Sunday, 23 August 2015
"We met when we were almost young
Deep in the green lilac park
You held onto me like I was a crucifix
As we went kneeling through the dark"
So long, Marianne
So long, Marianne
Marianne was originally my blogging name. I borrowed it from the beautiful Leonard Cohen Song 'So Long Marianne' when I started writing this blog quite a few years ago now when I was putting my life back together again following the devastating breakdown of my marriage, which left me a single mother of three young boys. Not an easy time. It seemed appropriate.
I had never really considered that the song might be based on a real Marianne until my new husband, who is inured to my lifelong love affair with Leonard Cohen and his music, bought me a copy of Kari Hesthamar's eponymous book recently. The book is based on interviews with Marianne about her life and particularly about her long relationship with Leonard with whom she lived off and on for the best part of a decade and which took place mostly on the beautiful Greek island of Hydra, and which I found quite fascinating. A more contemporary version of the Bloomsbury Group as it turns out!
Marianne was only 23 years old when she left her native Oslo to live on Hydra with her then boyfriend, the Norwegian writer Axel Jensen, and they joined an artists' and writers' community there. She married Axel and gave birth to his son back in Norway but on her return to Hydra she was abandoned by him and left to raise her son alone. Leonard introduced himself to her at the local cafe and she became his muse and the inspiration for some of his earlier poems and songs.
My musical tastes were formed in the '70s when North American and Canadian Folk/Rock were part of the sound track of my life. Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan were constantly being played in my student house in Leeds and I was lucky enough to see some of these talented artists, including Leonard Cohen, live at the time.
Leonard Cohen wrote some stunningly beautiful and thoughtful contemporary poetry and prose but did not achieve recognition until he turned to song writing and became the voice of a generation. He has continued to write and record music and to perform his music live all around the world. His style has matured and somehow both lightened and deepened, and some of his lines are exquisite. As a performer, he is mesmerising. I still enjoy listening to his music which I find timeless and evocative. His voice has stayed with me through the decades.
I found this unusual version of 'So Long Marianne' on YouTube recently and wanted to share it.
Monday, 1 April 2013
“To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go”
to his beautiful, talented bride
Wishing them all the love and luck in the world!
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
"What will you do now with the gift of your left life?"
Such a lovely evocative line from a Carol Ann Duffy poem. She has such a spare way with words and chooses and places them so beautifully.
And reading this made me think about my own left life, the children having grown and flown the nest, busy with their own lives, and my mother having recently died. This has been a time of great change for me and a chance to reflect, reassess where I am, where I want to be, what I will do now. What really matters.
I have loved being a mother. For me, it has been the best thing in my life and, now that I find myself only a small part of my children's lives, it is hard to find something meaningful to fill the huge space they have left behind in mine. I could spend hours listing the things I miss about having my sons living at home with me. Not that I would want them at home all the time now that they are young adults - they need to have their own lives and I need to have mine. Nor has it always been easy; far from it! Yet somehow the only time I really feel whole again, and at peace, is when they are here with me, chatting and laughing in the kitchen while I cook at meal for us all, bake a cake I know they like, feel the warmth of that primeval relationship we only ever have with the people to whom we have given birth.