Leonard Cohen, Montrealers and Quebecers
You know the saying: “It is only when the felled tree that can measure the greatness.”
I thought about this saying last week when Leonard Cohen died. Why did it have to Leonard Cohen die for some realize how important it was for Montreal and for Quebec?
Leonard Cohen was buried Thursday in the Jewish cemetery of Mount Royal. Where are buried his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. That is to say how the Cohen, for four generations, were rooted in Montreal.
Although Cohen did not sing the city in her songs (except one or two references in the song Suzanne ), it was Montreal through with his black hat.
He might buy a little house in Hydra, Greece, to spend five years in a Buddhist monastery in Los Angeles or go to Chelsea Hotel in New York, Montreal was still his home.
André Ménard, the Jazz Festival, said last week about Leonard Cohen: “He was in the DNA of the city and the city was in its DNA.”
Leonard Cohen, the Montreal bagels, balls matzah and smoked meat , synagogues and Shabbat, the Montreal McGill University and its fraternities , the Montreal that says shalom , the Montreal Westmount canopy the Montreal old shops of hand that have not changed since 1963 storefront.
Moreover, in the Montreal Gazette columnist Josh Freed said that Cohen was always going to Schreter, a haberdashery unchanged for centuries, will buy black felt slippers (size 9, if you want to know).
I can well imagine Cohen, away from the glamor and limelight, make tea and settle in the small wooden table in his house in the rue Vallières to write.
I like the idea that Hallelujah , one of the best songs of the world repertoire, was written by a poet who had the feet of black felt slippers purchased around the corner.
In the Montreal Gazette , the promoter Rubin Fogel told that in 2008, for his return to touring after a spectacular bankruptcy, Leonard Cohen had to give two shows in Chicoutimi. “Leonard was more nervous about these dates as about all other shows in Canada. He did not think that after an absence of 16 years people would buy tickets for his shows. He was amazed to see that the rooms were fully met. ”
Thursday, when we learned of the death of Cohen, it was very touching to see on social media, among all the tributes from New York or Tokyo, dozens of Chicoutimi spectators who remembered fondly the passage Cohen Saguenay.
ONE LAST WALTZ
I hope that the City of Montreal will honor properly to Leonard Cohen.
I have a crazy idea: why not rename the boulevard Saint-Laurent?
Imagine if one day we gave appointment “at the corner of Leonard Cohen and Rene Levesque” …
Would this not the best way to reconcile the two solitudes?