25 Timeless Leonard Cohen Quotes

Last updated on Oct 8th, 2017

25 Timeless Leonard Cohen Quotes

Leonard Norman Cohen (born September 21, 1934, Westmount, Quebec, Canada – died November 7, 2016, Los Angeles, California, U.S.) was a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet, and novelist.

Cohen started as a poet and novelist during the 1950s, publishing his first book of poems, Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956). His music career begins in the mid-1960s, when he became interested in the Greenwich Village folk scene. His first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, was released in 1967.

Leonard Cohen is best known for his poetic lyrics, songs and baritone voice. Some of his notable albums are Songs of Love and Hate (1971), Death of a Ladies’ Man (1977), Various Positions (1984), I’m Your Man (1988), The Future (1992), Old Ideas (2012), and You Want It Darker (2016).

In 2008, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2010.


There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.'Anthem,' The Future (1992)


What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love.Beautiful Losers (1966)


Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.Songs Sacred and Profane by Ira Mothner (June 10, 1969)


Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.The Favourite Game (1963)


Avoid the flourish. Do not be afraid to be weak. Do not be ashamed to be tired. You look good when you’re tired. You look like you could go on forever. Now come into my arms. You are the image of my beauty.Death of a Lady's Man (1978)


Prayer is translation. A man translates himself into a child asking for all there is in a language he has barely mastered.Beautiful Losers (1966)


This is the most challenging activity that humans get into, which is love. You know, where we have the sense that we can’t live without love. That life has very little meaning without love.'I'm blessed with a certain amnesia' by Jian Ghomeshi, The Guardian (July 10, 2009)


The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.The Favourite Game (1963)


Let judges secretly despair of justice: their verdicts will be more acute. Let generals secretly despair of triumph; killing will be defamed. Let priests secretly despair of faith: their compassion will be true. It is the tension…'Lines from My Grandfather's Journal' Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956)


But love is not some kind of victory march,
No it’s a cold and it’s a very broken Hallelujah.'Hallelujah' additional verses, Various Positions (1984)


Do not be a magician – be magic!Beautiful Losers (1966)


A woman watches her body uneasily, as though it were an unreliable ally in the battle for love.The Favourite Game (1963)


When you stop thinking about yourself all the time, a certain sense of repose overtakes you.'I Never Discuss My Mistresses Or My Tailors' by Nick Paton Walsh, The Observer (October 14, 2001)


There is a war between the ones who say there is a war
and the ones who say there isn’t.'There Is a War,' New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974)


When you’re not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you’ve sinned.'Sisters of Mercy,' Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)


As our eyes grow accustomed to sight they armour themselves against wonder.The Favourite Game (1963)


Love is a fire
It burns everyone
It disfigures everyone
It is the world’s excuse
for being ugly'On leaving France,' The Energy of Slaves (1972)


Never make a decision when you need to pee.Beautiful Losers (1966)


We are so small between the stars, so large against the sky.'Stories of the Street,' Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)


We are so lightly here.
It is in love that we are made;
In love we disappear.'Boogie Street,' Ten New Songs (2001)


In dreams the truth is learned that all good works are done in the absence of a caress.The Favourite Game (1963)


We are not mad. We are human. We want to love, and someone must forgive us for the paths we take to love, for the paths are many and dark, and we are ardent and cruel in our journey.Poems and Songs (2011)


How can I begin anything new with all of yesterday in me?Beautiful Losers (1966)


I wish I could say twelve things at once. I wish I could say all there was to say in one word. I hate all the things that can happen between the beginning of a sentence and the end.The Favourite Game (1963)


We are ugly but we have the music.'Chelsea Hotel #2,' New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974)