Dear Leonard Cohen,
Today was a cold and dreary November day. The north wind was howling, tearing the last lemon-coloured leaves off their branches, shuffling a few remaining Halloween decorations on otherwise empty front yards. Today was a typical November day, too late for autumn, too early for Christmas.
I went to your home on the corner of the Main and rue Marie-Anne. I wasn’t the only one. There was a small, quiet crowd in front of your door. There were flowers on your front steps, there were candles: small tea-candles, Jewish seven-day candles and Catholic candles with Virgin Mary. I don’t think you would have minded. Somebody cut out a paper Hallelujah and taped it to your door. Somebody tied a yellow paper bird to the lamp-post. Some people, many people brought you handwritten letters. One woman put a small piece of broken glass on your steps. You probably know what she meant by it. There were photos, there were books, there were music scores. There was a guitar. In the centre of this beautiful mess somebody left an old tape recorder and a bunch of spare batteries, lest we run out of music. There was silence and there was your voice. Dance Me to the End of Love, The Future, Waiting for the Miracle, Hallelujah… As I was leaving, the sun briefly came out and touched the roof of your house.
When somebody passes away, Christians bring him flowers and Jews bring him stones. I had neither stone, nor flower, so I brought you a painting my daughter had made. She turned two last week. Sometimes, when she’s falling asleep in my arms, I whisper softly in her ear: “Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord…” Then I skip the next line, because I hope that one day she would really care for music. One day I will bring her to your house, Leonard, and I will teach her all the words:
“It goes like this the fourth, the fifth, the major fall, the minor lift, the baffled king composing Hallelujah. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…”