I picked up this Leonard Cohen Selected Poems book many years ago mostly because it contained the poem Suzanne.
I knew and had liked the song version of Suzanne done by Judy Collins on her In My Life album. I remember being very high and mellow in a dorm room somewhere when someone put this album on and this tuned played. Judy had me at the opening line “Suzanne takes you down to her place by the river….”
The poem’s official title Suzanne Takes You Down was what first caught my eye when I thumbed thru this collection of Cohen’s early poems. And yes, 19 years old and reading about Suzannes’s perfect body and wanting to travel with her, I was very sure that I just knew that LC was talking about sex and getting it on with sweet little Suzanne.
However, turns out that Leonard did not actually bring any of his al dente noodles to Suzanne’s spaghetti house after all. Witness the following:
Ah yes, those crazy, platonic relationships are always something aren’t they? Reminds me of the Little Johnny joke that when someone explained a platonic relationship to him as one without romance or sex, Little Johnny replied “Oh, so its just another word for marriage.”
At least Leonard got enough out his platonic relationship with Suzanne to write a great poem/song about it. To listen to Judy’s take on it, the one that first caught my ear many years ago (Click here.)
But to hear the man himself doing it, check this out: