So Long, Marianne

A Brief One from Doug Draper

Posted August 4rth, 2016 on Niagara At Large

Her name was Marianne Ihlen and she was a former girlfriend and the inspiration for one of Canadian-born poet/singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen’s earliest songs, ‘So Long, Mariane’, which was featured on his very first album, along with his classic ‘Suzanne’.

Marianne Ihlen was the inspiration for one of Leonard Cohen's earliest great songs.

Marianne Ihlen was the inspiration for one of Leonard Cohen’s earliest great songs.

Marianne  Ihlen died this past July 28th, , at age 81 after a short battle with leukemia but her spirit will always live on in the loving lyrics of Leonard’s song.

“Come over to the window, my little darling, I’d like to try to read your palm. I used to think I was some kind of Gypsy boy before I let you take me home. Now so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again.”

A friend of Marianne, who was with her in her final hours, sent Leonard Cohen a letter with permission he could make its contents public as a tribute to her.

“Dear Leonard

Marianne slept slowly out of this life yesterday evening. Totally at ease, surrounded by close friends.

Your letter came when she still could talk and laugh in full consciousness. When we read it aloud, she smiled as only Marianne can. She lifted her hand, when you said you were right behind, close enough to reach her.marianne so long

It gave her deep peace of mind that you knew her condition. And your blessing for the journey gave her extra strength. Jan and her friends who saw what this message meant for her, will all thank you in deep gratitude for replying so fast and with such love and compassion.

In her last hour I held her hand and hummed Bird on a Wire, while she was breathing so lightly. And when we left he room, after her soul had flown out of the window for new adventures, we kissed her head and whispered your everlasting words

So long, Marianne”

Fortunately, Leonard Cohen is still with us, somewhere out there in his ‘tower of song’.

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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders





One response to “So Long, Marianne

  1. I’m so glad you posted this, Doug. Hearing that tribute on CBC Radio One yesterday morning brought me right back to Montreal in the 1960s; “So Long, Marianne” came out in 1967 and became the unofficial theme song of Expo 67. That interview showed us Leonard Cohen, the private man: a kind, loyal and caring friend, whose love song to his lady made her name famous.


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