Dear Friends … All Good Things, Leonard
My routine cyber-rounds turned up this small gem – a postcard written from Leonard Cohen from Hydra on Jan 20, 1965 to Wallis. (Click on image to enlarge) While there is no ground-breaking revelation contained in the message (unless Leonard was using invisible ink or a secure code to transmit information covertly) the style itself is impressive enough to warrant posting:
How many postcards1 have you received that included phrases such as these:
Faces of Dimitris & Carolina filled with strange lost / found grace
Does danger cure?
And it’s somehow heartening to find that in 1965 Leonard Cohen wrote that it was
good to learn that work (good or bad) makes me happiest
Finally, I can offer readers a few annotations:
Redmond Frankton Wallis (1933-2006) was a novelist (Point Of Origin) from New Zealand who lived in London and Hydra at various times during the 1960s.
Update: “Dimitris & Carolina” are Demetris Gassoumis and Carolina identified in this photo from Lagoudera – The Golden Age of Hydra 1959-1967.“Steve” is almost certainly Steve Sanfield, a close friend of Cohen since they met on Hydra more than 50 years ago. A brief biography of Sanfield can be found at Warrior Poets.
Sanfield was the first American student of Zen teacher Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi, who is the “guru in Calif.” In 1969, Cohen served as best man for Sanfield at a wedding officiated by Joshu Sasaki Rosi. Sanfield is also featured in Other Writers, a poem by Leonard Cohen from Book Of Longing:
Steve Sanfield is a great haiku master.
He lives in the country with Sarah,
his beautiful wife,
and he writes about the small things
which stand for all things.
Credit Due Department: The photo and caption identifying Demetris Gassoumis and Carolina were found by Sophia Koutselini. Peter Torbijn from the Netherlands identified the front of the card as a match for the back.
- Yeah, I know, I haven’t received a personal postcard in a decade either. Feel free to substitute “email” or “IM” if that helps. [↩]