Leonard Cohen on the foothills of old age – 2006
A beautiful 3-part 2006 interview with poet Leonard Cohen “on the foothills of old age”:
Watch part 1 on YouTube
Old desires “depart from you, which is merciful… they illuminate”
Cohen talks of his long association with the Mount Baldy zen center,
where he acted as zen master Roshi’s “cook, driver and general helper”.
He confesses to not really knowing the actual tenets of zen,
“they never really interested me”,
but liking “the life” of early mornings & meditations,
and liking Roshi and “what zen had done to him”.
Cohen talks about love as “being forgiven”,
sometimes by someone who “has forgiven himself”.
He shares a funny recollection
of meeting with Bob Dylan in Paris,
and trading “shop talk about writing songs” in a café.
When Dylan asked him how long he took to write Hallelujah,
Cohen confesses to lying and saying 2 years,
“it actually took four”.
He asked Dylan how long it took him to write I and I,
and Dylan replied “15 minutes”.
Cohen deadpans: “maybe he was lying too,
maybe it took him 20 minutes.”
Cohen talks about losing all his money
because of his fraudulent manager, who remains a friend.
He also speaks about the politics in his recent songs:
“Oh yeah, and one more thing,
you’re not going to like
what comes after America”
Cohen says he writes everywhere
and takes out his small notebook,
and reads from it:
“It’s going to be September now
for many years to come…”