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Cohen, a paz antes da partida

por José António Abreu, em 11.11.16

 

In his chair, Cohen waved away any sense of what might follow death. That was beyond understanding and language: “I don’t ask for information that I probably wouldn’t be able to process even if it were granted to me.” Persistence, living to the last, loose ends, work—that was the thing. A song from four years ago, “Going Home,” made clear his sense of limits: “He will speak these words of wisdom / Like a sage, a man of vision / Though he knows he’s really nothing / But the brief elaboration of a tube.”

The new record opens with the title track, “You Want It Darker,” and in the chorus, the singer declares:

Hineni Hineni

I’m ready my Lord.

Hineni is Hebrew for “Here I am,” Abraham’s answer to the summons of God to sacrifice his son Isaac; the song is clearly an announcement of readiness, a man at the end preparing for his service and devotion. Cohen asked Gideon Zelermyer, the cantor at Shaar Hashomayim, the synagogue of his youth in Montreal, to sing the backing vocals. And yet the man sitting in his medical chair was anything but haunted or defeated.

“I know there’s a spiritual aspect to everybody’s life, whether they want to cop to it or not,” Cohen said. “It’s there, you can feel it in people—there’s some recognition that there is a reality that they cannot penetrate but which influences their mood and activity. So that’s operating. That activity at certain points of your day or night insists on a certain kind of response. Sometimes it’s just like: ‘You are losing too much weight, Leonard. You’re dying, but you don’t have to coöperate enthusiastically with the process.’ Force yourself to have a sandwich.

“What I mean to say is that you hear the Bat Kol.” The divine voice. “You hear this other deep reality singing to you all the time, and much of the time you can’t decipher it. Even when I was healthy, I was sensitive to the process. At this stage of the game, I hear it saying, ‘Leonard, just get on with the things you have to do.’ It’s very compassionate at this stage. More than at any time of my life, I no longer have that voice that says, ‘You’re fucking up.’ That’s a tremendous blessing, really.” 

 

O final de um excelente perfil de Leonard Cohen, surgido na The New Yorker de 17 de Outubro. A juventude, Marianne, outras mulheres, Dylan, a enganadora simplicidade da música, os concertos ao vivo, as drogas, a transcendência, a ideia da morte. E, a propósito desta, faz-me uma certa impressão - fica sempre a ideia do vatícinio (sorry, IsabelPS) - ter referido há exactamente duas semanas que ele se declarara pronto para morrer.

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