I always liked singing but I do a number of other things just like anybody else. But there’s a whole life you know. This is just the evidence of the life that is led. Just like the ash of a fire; if the fire burns well it is a clean white ash, if it doesn’t there are a lot of clinkers.
The “ash of a fire” is a recurrent Leonard Cohen metaphor for music and poetry; see
- Leonard Cohen: “Poetry is just the evidence of a life…”
- “I see a song as the ashes of existence, and if there is a light there, and you can warm yourself by it.” Leonard Cohen
- “[Singing] is just the evidence of the life that is led. Just like the ash of a fire; if the fire burns well it is a clean white ash, if it doesn’t there are a lot of clinkers.” Leonard Cohen
Note: A “clinker” is “the stony residue from burned coal or from a furnace.” (Oxford Dictionary)
From The Strange, Sad and Beautiful World of Leonard Cohen By Andrew Furnival. Petticoat: December 30, 1972. Photo from York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, Photographer: John Sharp, ASC01709.
I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Nov 2, 2017.