The Jungle Line

After the difficult week we've gone through, it's almost logical that one of our real heroes left us. One morning in 2012, I had to teach a poem class at the school I was working at that time. My students were listening to Rihanna and Katy Perry, so I thought I'd bring them a sort of a different piece of cake. I've always listened to the music of Joni Mitchell and enjoyed the depth and poetic qualities of her lyrics. When I first heard Leonard Cohen read 'The Jungle Line' on Herbie Hancock's album "River- The Joni Letters' I was struck by his warm voice and his overall performance. What a great piece of art! The evening before the class I was so into the track that I put it on repeat and spent the night on the 'Jungle Line.' My students were familiar with 'Halleluja,' beside the fact that they thought 'Shrek' wrote it. I will never forget their faces when I played the song for them. They've never heard something like that before, weren't able to follow the story, didn't know what the music and words seem to express. They were stunned and at the same time hated it. Most of the time that's the kind of reaction you get when a great artist shows people that there's way more to life than they already knew. And that's exactly why we will miss Mr. Leonard Cohen so much.