The Gypsy Scholar is proud to dedicate this page of the Tower of Song in honor of its Orphic Troubadour, Leonard Cohen
"I'm Your Man" in the Tower of Song
Leonard Cohen is one of the Gypsy Scholar's
"singing-masters of my soul."
his Tower of Song is the
"singing school ...
"studying Monuments of its own magnificence."
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence ....
O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
~W.B. Yeats, 'Sailing to Byzantium'
September 21, 1934 - November 7, 2016
"Now I bid you farewell, I don't know when I'll be back
They're moving us tomorrow to that tower down the track
But you'll be hearing from me baby, long after I'm gone
I'll be speaking to you sweetly from a window in the Tower of Song."
This is a music video of the Leonard Cohen song "Traveling Light," from his last album, You Want It Darker. The video contains never before seen clips of Leonard at his LA home during his final days.
Leonard Cohen's last birthday in 2016 celebrated by the Gypsy Scholar
Happy 82nd Virgo Birthday Leonard Cohen!
from one Virgo (September 22) to another,
Congratulations on the upcoming release of your new album (10/21/16)
The "Romantic Outsider" as Poet-Musician
The Gypsy Scholar locates Leonard Cohen in the poetic tradition of the
19th-century Romantic Movement.
The GS's early intuition of Leonard Cohen's poetic influences has been substantiated by both LC himself (as to his influences as a young poet) and by his critics and biographers. However, LC's is a special type of Romanticism. He has been identified with the late 19th-century poetic school of "Black Romanticism" (associated with Baudelaire): "Yet it is precisely this tradition, that of the contemporary Black Romantics [Genet, Burroughs, Grass] as we might call them, that Leonard Cohen appears to belong" (Sandra Djwa, 1976). LC himself has stated that as an aspiring young Montreal poet he took his inspiration from, and identified with, the Romantic poets, like Blake, Byron, Shelley, Keats and W. B. Yeats. ("... a young man who was growing up and discovering Byron and Blake." "It was also a place where a young poet could try to connect with the ghosts of Byron and Shelley and Blake." "Leonard Cohen was reborn as John Keats." [Leibovitz, 2014]. Bono, a great admirer, has this to say about Leonard: “Here was a man, who inside of a pop-song ... you know, puts big ideas, big dreams. It reminded me of Keats or Shelley or, you know, they were poets I was reading as a kid. I said this is our ... Shelley, this is our ... Byron.") Leonard has called W. B. Yeats "the great master." In his poem 'Time Out,' Cohen takes a line from Yeats' poem 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree': "I shall arise and go now." Cohen hears the Romantic call and longs to "arise and go now," and for a time he is set apart in order to grow. Thus, the GS sees Leonard Cohen as part of that esteemed "Visionary Company" (Harold Bloom) of the early 18th- and late 19th-century Romantic poet-prophets, those "ringers in the tower" (Yeats)--the "Tower of Song." (Regarding Bono's insight into LC that "inside of a pop-song ... you know, puts big ideas, big dreams" and identifying him with Romantic poets: the GS, as a young college student of English Lit and specializing in the Romantics--who sometimes called their poems "Songs"-- his desire to have Romantic poems set to music and his fantasy of a Romantic poet as a musician--because of his non-academic preoccupation with Sixties folk-rock music--was fully realized when he first heard the songs of one-time poet, Leonard Cohen. Indeed, these "big ideas" of high literary/philosophical culture "inside of a pop song" of low culture was a dream come true--and, looking back, probably the inspiration for later in life becoming the "Gypsy Scholar" on radio, who sought to mix high, academic culture with low, popular culture.)
My time is running out
and still I have not
sung the true song
the great song.
And Shelley had his towers, thought's crowned powers
he called them once
I declare this tower my symbol; I declare
This winding, gyring, spiring treadmill of a stair is my
—W.B. Yeats, 'The Winding Stair and Other Poems'
I shall find the dark grow luminous,
the void fruitful when I understand
I have nothing, that the ringers in the tower
have appointed for the hymen of the soul
a passing bell.
—W.B. Yeats, 'Per Arnica Silentia Lunae'
Leonard Cohen's secret society of the Romantic "Visionary Company" (those poet-prophet "ringers in the tower") of the Tower of Song:
"The Order of the Unified Heart"
Leonard Cohen Memes
Leonard Cohen Song-lyric Memes
by the Gypsy Scholar
Leonard Cohen Song Artworks
Leonard Cohen's Art Prints
Leonard Cohen on radio
Leonard Cohen's jukebox
More to come . . .