Leonard Cohen on moonlight

6 minutes

Leonard Cohen turns an erotic fantasy that wasn’t into a sleepless night’s work

Love could not bind them

Fear could not either

They went unconnected

They never knew where

Excerpted from a little-known interview conducted by Kathleen Kendel in 1974, this instalment of PBS’s animated Blank on Blank series features the recently deceased Canadian writer, singer and artist Leonard Cohen reading his poem ‘Two Went to Sleep’ in his distinctive baritone. He then goes on to tell the story of writing the song ‘The Sisters of Mercy’, evoking a restless moonlit winter night spent in Edmonton, Canada, with two sleeping companions nearby. How Cohen got himself into bed with two women is a good story, but what actually transpired is something altogether more wonderful – a lovely evocation of songwriting’s power to transport.

Director: Patrick Smith

Producer: David Gerlach

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter Sign up
Follow us on
Facebook
Like

‘Aeon’s combination of intelligence, integrity and flair is vanishingly rare – and I am very grateful for it. It is becoming an indispensable presence in the digital world for those who believe that ideas matter.’

Tom Chatfield, writer and commentator on digital culture

‘Thought-provoking, eclectic, open-minded and user friendly.

Aeon is like no other site on the internet.’

Larry D, UK, Friend of Aeon

‘I read one article and decided that I wanted to support an organisation that promotes critical thinking around ideas that affect our everyday lives.’

John T, Canada, Friend of Aeon

‘Aeon is always providing great, thought-provoking content, and it would be a crime for me to not donate to a service that I use daily.’

Jarry A, Canada, Friend of Aeon

‘I believe it’s increasingly important to support accessible scholarship and aspirational ideas.

Thinking people can no longer afford to be alone.’

Christine T, USA, Friend of Aeon

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Essay/
Subcultures
The spirit molecule

The theory that the brain produces its own psychedelic compound provokes pop-culture enthusiasm and scientific controversy

Graham St John

Essay/
Stories & Literature
Thus spake Albert

You probably know a quote from him. He probably never said it. How did Einstein become a touchstone of all that is wise?

Andrew Robinson