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Saturday, 6 August 2016

So Long, Marianne (1935-2016)

Marianne Ihlen, muse for Leonard Cohen's haunting classic So Long, Marianne, died in Norway on July 29, aged 81, and was buried in Oslo yesterday. Cohen met Marianne on the island of Hydra off Greece in May 1960. She appeared, wrapped in a towel and typing on Cohen's pistachio-coloured Olivetti Lettera 22 portable typewriter, and on the back of the sleeve for Cohen's 1969 album Songs From a Room.
Australian authors George Johnston and Charmian Clift befriended Cohen and Ihlen on Hydra. Here are the two couples with the Johnsons' son Jason in October 1960.
Just before she died, Cohen wrote to Ihlen: 
"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 …"

3 comments:

Richard P said...

What a touching note he wrote to her before she died. That is my favorite part of this story.

Rob Bowker said...

Thanks for this Robert. Leonard Cohen and his muses were important steps in my growing up.

Becky said...

It's post like this that make me love your blog!