Reading Cohen on Christmas Morning by Vin Maskell

Reading Cohen on Christmas Morning

Reading Cohen on Christmas morning
Poems of love and loss and yearning

The book a gift
From my elder son
Given on Christmas Eve

Poems of love and desire
And mourning
For flesh, for touch, for skin
For heart, for meaning.

“As soon as I saw it,” said my son
“Knew it was the one, the only one.”

Reading Cohen on Christmas morning
The house asleep
The visitors coming
But not for hours

On the page
The words are as sparse
As in song
But no sounds
No guitar, no singing, no chords
Minor or otherwise
Ink, black ink
On space, white space
Space to ponder
Space to wonder
Space to wander in ignorance

For I am not a scholar
No expert
No insights
But still a sense
That there’s something
In the way he moves
Words here and there
Doesn’t need many
Three or four to a line sometimes

Reading Cohen on Christmas morning
House quiet
Visitors still distant
My son two hundred miles away now
With his partner and her family
You can’t be in two places at once.

Reading Cohen on Christmas morning
Poems of love and loss and yearning


The book the author received from his son was Leonard Cohen’s The Flame.

Vin Maskell’s work has been published in Best Australian Essays, The Age, The Big Issue, Eureka Street, The Footy Almanac, ABC Radio and elsewhere. He is the founding editor of the music and memoir website Stereo Stories and director of the Stereo Stories concerts. His blog is subtitled ‘Tender documents, Gentle stories’.

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