Friday, November 17, 2017

So Long, Marianne! ~ Leonard Cohen

If opposites attract, it’s no wonder that the brooding poet
and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen was enchanted by the blond beauty Marianne
Ihlen. A radiant young mother with long slender legs and hipbones jutting over
her bikini bottom, she was light to his darkness, a bright sunny presence in
his memorably gloomy days.

In March 1960, Cohen, a law school dropout and budding
poet, left dismal London for the sunny paradise of Hydra, Greece. The Greek
isle was at the time a haven for the era’s nascent hippie culture, with
wanderers fashioning themselves as bohemian artists alongside such moneyed
elite as Aristotle Onassis and Princess Margaret. The Canadian poet, lonely and
despondent, found himself admiring a handsome couple strolling along, their
arms linked in seemingly loving companionship. As Cohen himself would later
say: “I had no idea I’d spend the next decade with this man’s wife.”

Cohen didn’t know that the man was the Norwegian novelist
Axel Jensen, about to abandon the beautiful Marianne Ihlen, then 25, and their
toddler son, for another woman.

Later Cohen ran into the blonde at a market, where she was
shopping. He invited her to join his friends outside. Cohen, then 26, was
immediately entranced, but their courtship was slow and luxurious. “Though I
loved him from the moment we met, it was a beautiful, slow movie,” Ihlen

“We met when we were almost young,” Cohen would write in
his famous love song inspired by his blonde muse, “So Long, Marianne,” in 1967.
“Deep in the green lilac park/You held on to me like I was a crucifix/As we
went kneeling through the dark.”

The two had little money, but led a romantic life of
reading poetry, playing with Ihlen’s son on the beach, and singing in tavernas
at night. After Cohen drove with Ihlen to Oslo so she could file for divorce
from Jensen, he returned to his hometown of Montreal for the publication of a
critically acclaimed book of poetry, The Spice-Box of the Earth.
But he was lonely, and wanted his muse by his side. He sent Ihlen a telegraph:
“Have a flat. All I need is my woman and her child.” She heeded his call, and
flew to Montreal with her young son.

Cohen and Ihlen remained entangled for the next seven
years, but their relationship was tempestuous. Neither was faithful, both were
jealous. Ihlen would become enraged with the attention Cohen received. He spent
time at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City, strumming his guitar, hanging out
at Andy Warhol’s Factory, and setting the stage for his future as a
singer-songwriter. She preferred the sun and gleaming white sands of Hydra.

During this time Cohen, sensing their was more money in
music than literature, began a natural transition from poet to
singer-songwriter. He compiled the songs for his for his debut album, Songs
of Leonard Cohen, released in 1967, which includes “So Long, Marianne.”
It was not meant as a good-bye letter, but it certainly foreshadowed their
ultimate breakup. “Oh, so long, Marianne,” Cohen sang. “It’s time that we began
to laugh/And cry and cry and laugh about it all again.”

The couple finally cracked apart in 1972, when Cohen’s
girlfriend, Suzanne Eldrod, gave birth to his son. He tried to talk Ihlen into
accepting the unconventional situation, but she refused and walked away from
him for good. Ihlen remarried in 1979.

Though their romantic relationship ended then, Cohen and
Ihlen eventually managed to arrive at a place of affection for each other. When
he heard she was dying of leukemia in 2016, he wrote a sweet letter to her,
according to the CBC, which read: “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 for your wisdom … but now, I just want to wish you a very good
journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”

Marianne Ilhen died two days later, on July 29, 2016.
Leonard Cohen died three months later, on November 7, 2016, in his sleep,
following a fall. He was 82. His song lyrics seem like an appropriate requiem:
“Oh, so long, Marianne/It’s time that we began to laugh/And cry and cry and
laugh about it all again.”

Leonard Cohen with Marianne

(Courtesy : The Vintage News)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Annabel Lee ~ Edgar Allan Poe

Lovers In The Moonlight ~ Marc Chagall


It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE; 
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea; 
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee; 
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee; 
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes! - that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea) 
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; 
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; 
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Rain ~ Kenji Miyazawa

(Photo Courtesy :

Be not defeated by the rain. Nor let the wind prove your better.
Succumb not to the snows of winter. Nor be bested by the heat of summer.

Be strong in body. Unfettered by desire. Not enticed to anger. Cultivate a quiet joy.
Count yourself last in everything. Put others before you.
Watch well and listen closely. Hold the learned lessons dear.

A thatch-roof house, in a meadow, nestled in a pine grove's shade.

A handful of rice, some miso, and a few vegetables to suffice for the day.

If, to the East, a child lies sick: Go forth and nurse him to health.
If, to the West, an old lady stands exhausted: Go forth, and relieve her of burden.
If, to the South, a man lies dying: Go forth with words of courage to dispel his fear.
If, to the North, an argument or fight ensues: 
Go forth and beg them stop such a waste of effort and of spirit.

In times of drought, shed tears of sympathy. 
In summers cold, walk in concern and empathy.

Stand aloof of the unknowing masses:
Better dismissed as useless than flattered as a "Great Man".

This is my goal, the person I strive to become.

~ Kenji Miyazawa (1896 ~ 1933)

(Translated By David Sulz)

Early Morning Rains : Holly Duane 

(Courtesy :

Monday, January 25, 2016

Africa.. ~ SebastiĆ£o Salgado

 I looked through a lens and ended up abandoning everything else.

 When I was just starting out, I met Cartier-Bresson. He wasn’t young in age but, in his mind, he was the youngest person I’d ever met. He told me it was necessary to trust my instincts, be inside my work, and set aside my ego. In the end, my photography turned out very different to his, but I believe we were coming from the same place.

 Roland Barthes, in his book Camera Lucida, stated that photography, rather than film or television, is the collective memory of the world. As I see it, he’s right about this. Photography immortalize a moment, which then becomes a symbol, a reference. Photography is universal language; it doesn’t need translation. Its collective memory is a mirror in which our society continually observes itself.

 I’m not an artist. An artist makes an object. Me, it’s not an object, I work in history, I’m a storyteller.

What I want is the world to remember the problems and the people I photograph. What I want is to create a discussion about what is happening around the world and to provoke some debate with these pictures. Nothing more than this. I don’t want people to look at them and appreciate the light and the palate of tones. I want them to look inside and see what the pictures represent, and the kind of people I photograph.
 You photograph with all your ideology.

 There comes a moment when it is no longer you who takes the photograph, but receives the way to do it quite naturally and fully. You need to be accepted by reality.

  The picture is not made by the photographer, the picture is more good or less good in function of the relationship that you have with the people you photograph.

If you take a picture of a human that does not make him or her noble, there is no reason to take this picture. That is my way of seeing things.

We are animals, born from the land with the other species. Since we’ve been living in cities, we’ve become more and more stupid, not smarter. What made us survive all these hundreds of thousands of years is our spirituality, the link to our land. In the end, the only heritage we have is our planet, and I have decided to go to the most pristine places on the planet and photograph them in the most honest way I know, with my point of view, and of course it is in black and white, because it is the only thing I know how to do.

 ~ SebastiĆ£o Salgado

Monday, December 21, 2015

To G.N.Balasubramaniam, The Love Of My Life.. ~ From M.S.Subbulakshmi


To the love of my life..
To my love who has taken over my life, body and soul..
To the person who had taken hold of my life and yet allowed me to languish..

All I want is to feast my eyes upon you. You on the other hand would not even raise your head to look at me. Can you fathom how this torments my mind? I simply wither away.

I hug your photograph and weep. Would that photograph speak to me, my kanna?

In my house there is no happiness for me. There are only problems … My mother is likely to be alive only for a few more years. My elder brother is my enemy. The younger sister is all right … I will not hide anything from you. I have not been happy so far. But I am alive because I am here. 

Kanna, to write all this I found some time only today … One thing is the absolute truth. Your happiness is mine, kanna … You may ask me what I was doing earlier. I suffered.

Even when the film is over,I will not get separated from you. Please do not unnecessarily test me. After the film is over, we will be together … The love I have for you will never change. After I die, you will realize that. My life from birth has been one of travails … Naan paavi.. I must have committed great sins to suffer like this. If I had stayed in Madurai, I would have died long ago … there is nobody to whom I can speak and cry out. I dream of you daily. Do you? … When you happen to touch me in the course of our acting together, I think to myself, ‘This is my Lord’ and then feel elated. I don't want anything else in life. I only want your love. 

If you are generally happy with me, that will give me the greatest pleasure. I do not know what people back at home would do to me. It was predicted by the astrologer that the immortal Pushpavanam would have a long life. Yet he died at a young age. I will go in the same manner. It is better that I am dead.

At least now, when the duet is picturised will you avoid the natural inclination of physical contact?

The kutchery was no good. No music other than yours gets into my ears. This is the unvarnished truth. I must sing exactly like you. Even after the film is over, I am sure you are going to continue to teach me music.

Henceforth even for a moment I will not be separated from you.

From Kunju, who worships you..
My love, my very life, I kiss your handwriting and your music..
I will never leave you, en Kanna..

~ M.S.Subbulakshmi

(Excerpted from the Appendix of the Book, “M.S. : A Life in Music” by T.J.S. George, published by HarperCollins, 2004) 

(G.N.Balasubramaniam was born in 1910 and died at the age of 55 in 1965.

M.S.Subbulakshmi was born in 1916 and died at the age of 88 in 2004.)

G.N.Balasubramaniam and M.S.Subbulakshmi in the movie "Shakuntalai" 
Directed by Ellis R.Dungan in 1940