Leonard Cohen's Beautiful Letter To His Dying Muse Takes On A New Poignancy Following His Own Death

'If you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.'

The music world is in mourning once again following the news that the legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen has died at the age of 82.

Prior to his death, the Canadian musician wrote a letter to his dying muse, lover and friend Marianne Ihlen, which makes for very poignant reading, following his own death.

Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

During an interview for the launch of his 14th album, ‘You Want It Darker’ in October, the musician professed himself “ready to die’, something that is echoed in his note to Marianne.

In the letter he writes: “Well Marianne it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.

“And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.’”

The ‘Hallelujah’ singer met Marianne in the 1960s on the Greek island of Hydra. Although he went on to have other relationships, the pair remained close throughout their lives.

In 1967, he wrote a song about her called ‘So Long, Marianne’. A photograph of Marianne also featured on the back cover of his 1969 album ‘Songs From A Room’.


After receiving the letter, Marianne’s close friend Jan Chrstian Mollestad, wrote back to Leonard, telling him she had read the letter to her prior to her death from leukemia.

She wrote: “Your letter came when she still could laugh and talk 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 her, close enough to reach her.”

Sony Music Canada confirmed Cohen’s death in a statement on his Facebook page.

It read: “It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away.

“We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.


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