Thoughts on Leonard Cohen and Longing

The biography of Leonard Cohen I’m Your Man by Sylvie Simmons, is a journey in the shoes of a man of greatness, a man with the ability to capture the elusive in word and song.  One word stops me in my circular tracks.  That word is ‘longing’.  It comes up repeatedly from the title of his poetry book “Book of Longing”,  to references such as “It was so much more exquisite to long for somebody than to have her there beside him”.

Last night Cliff must have noticed an unusual expression on my face, he asked what I was thinking.  We then spoke of longing, opening a conversation deeper than our usual daily exchanges.  I asked what he longs for, and gained more understanding of the man who is cleaved to me, as he spoke of his longings.  Of course he ended the conversation with “I long for you to tidy the study” which sort of ruined the moment.

This morning I wrote this poem as my mind remains focused on that one powerful, potent, laden word.


Clenching the thread

of a receding dream

Waking mind shuns

the dawn

All longing

all hunger

all thirst

for what is forever gone



winter trees

Ache with desire

for flesh

Yearning fingers stretch


willing the sun

within reach


and i

have a glut

of fulfilment


leaves me bereft

I only long

to feel longing


the boundaries of my chest


Speak to me of longing, I would love to know what you long for in the comments below.

This tribute poem written some time ago was included in a book given to Leonard Cohen for his 80th birthday.  It was written to the same rhythm as Bird on a Wire.


Check Also

Rain – poem

If anyone can give me a better title for this poem please let me know.  …


  1. Your writing is so beautiful Sules.
    I long for a cure for Multiple Sclerosis, I long to be and feel the way I used to.

  2. Beautifully written as always Sula, brought tears to my eyes and a pain in my chest as my longing remains the same as it has for the past 9 and a half years

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *