This past July 28, at the age of 81, Marianne Ihlen ended her journey among us and slipped into death after a long battle with Leukemia.
She will forever be immortalized in several works by Leonard Cohen, but today’s Tunesday pays tribute in what is perhaps the most recognizable one.
So long, Marianne has always been a favorite Cohen song of mine, but really left an impression on me after watching The Boat That Rocked. Despite the criticism of the film’s use of the song (and others) to shortcut character development and storylines, I couldn’t help but feel a connection to this scene (see below).
There is something so relatable about the heartbreak and helplessness that the main character feels, only brought back to life by his equally “depressing” comrades – all commiserating and laughing at their pathos in that moment.
I have always felt a special connection to music in general. Like most people feel a connection to characters in books (which I do too sometimes), my most electric pseudo-relationships are often with characters in songs, both real and imaginary.
So overcome with emotions after reading about her death, the relationship between Cohen and Ihlen, and the time that their love story took place, I became paralyzed.
I hope one day to find the words powerful enough to illustrate those emotions, particularly after reading Cohen’s letter to Marianne shortly before her passing.
But until then…
So long, Marianne.