A Legend Lost

November 11, 2016 § Leave a comment

Last night, I was bobbing and weaving my way through the pro and anti-Trump posts on Facebook when I cam across the news that Leonard Cohen had died at the age of 82. While there may be those who disagree, for me, Cohen was perhaps the greatest modern lyrical poet outside of Bob Dylan, and I’m not sure he wasn’t even greater than Dylan.

From his earliest classics, like “Suzanne” and “Bird on the Wire” to his oft-covered ode to sex and faith, “Hallelujah,” and his less than optimistic view of the world, “Everybody Knows,” Cohen had a way with words that few, if any, could even hope to emulate.

His voice, which became even deeper and more gravelly as he got older, was perhaps never a singer’s voice, much like Dylan’s. Yet while Dylan’s greatest songs were great in spite of his voice, Cohen’s voice for me only added to the magic of his songs. I can’t describe or explain it, but the was a quality to Cohen’s voice that somehow added to the melancholy or sadness in many of his songs and counter-balanced the occasional hopeful or positive lyric.

While I had been familiar with the name of Leonard Cohen for years and had some vague idea of who he was, I only began to listen to his music in the last six months or so. I was immediately drawn to his lyrics, especially his classic “Hallelujah” and “Everybody Knows.”

Like perhaps many other songwriters, I wished I could write something in Leonard Cohen fashion, but I knew better than to try for there was and is only one Leonard Cohen. That didn’t stop me from trying – once.

Today’s offering was an attempt to write something in a Leonard Cohen style. I don’t think I succeeded, but it was inspired by his music and will serve as my inadequate tribute to the man, the poet, the singer, the genius who was Leonard Cohen.

The Running Man

I watch the people walk by in their haste
Where are they going with no time to waste?
Almost running, as if being chased
In fear that they might be replaced

The running man, he leaves no shadow
No stone is left to be unturned
Moving so fast that he makes the same mistakes
No time to wait for lessons learned

No time to stop; no time to wait
He who is lost is he who’ll hesitate
And so we move as if we’re running late
Are we the prize or simply the bait

The running man, he leaves no shadow
No stone is left to be unturned
Moving so fast that he makes the same mistakes
No time to wait for lessons learned

The hands of time spin out of control
Circling and winding tighter around your soul
Minutes like seconds, all running down
Until the clock stops without a sound

The world around me is picking up speed
Everyone hurrying to fill a desparate need
Afraid of missing out if they aren’t in the lead
Is it desire or simply greed

The running man, he leaves no shadow
No stone is left to be unturned
Moving so fast that he makes the same mistakes
No time to wait for lessons learned

© 2017 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

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