“Does danger cure?” Postcard From Leonard Cohen (& Marianne) To Redmond Wallis 1965

postcard

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

Identifications

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.

hydrapix

COCKTAIL on the tiller. TOP LEFT The PRESVIS ARGYROPOULOS, RIGHT DIMITRIS KASOULIS THE CAROLINA. SMILING IN THE CENTER IN THE JENNY KAREZI Henry Fonda FRIENDS OF THE FRONT OF MARILENA VIZANTIOU. STANDING RIGHT Phaedon PAPAMICHAIL AND ON TOP OF THE HEAD OF DAPHNE KOSTOPOULOU [Google Translate]

 “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.

Update: Front of card shown below
tumblr_myujlmVd3F1r616oeo1_1280

The postcard is archived at the National Library of New Zealand – Wellington. I found it posted Jan 4, 2014 at Adelphe

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.

  1. Yeah, I know, I haven’t received a personal postcard  in a decade either. Feel free to substitute “email” or “IM” if that helps. []

7 Responses to “Does danger cure?” Postcard From Leonard Cohen (& Marianne) To Redmond Wallis 1965

  1. “Work makes me happiest.” See 2013 Tour for proof….

  2. “Faces of Dimitri and Caroline” — possibly Dimitri Goutsoumis (sp?) of Hydra fame. What was the image on the front of the postcard?

    • I think Demetri Gassoumis is a prime suspect although the spelling of the first name appears off. The problem of course is that Demetri/Dimitri is too common to be sure. The other side of the postcard wasn’t shown.

  3. Peter Torbijn

    I think the front of the postcard is the one with the groom/bride in the same post at Adelphe.
    As far as I can determine both sides of the postcard have the same wavy edges and the pictures of both sides of the postcard are on the same background with typewriting on it, you can read the same text on both pictures: “…doesn’t leak (one tiny one upstairs…”.
    Does this make sense?

  4. maybe it´s been said already..but on the side there is a nice : jassou marianne written…a hello from marianne.
    when i was in greece i bought several post-cards like this…marriges..birth easter… couples..it was common to sent cards like this.
    does danger cure? yes, if you survive
    thank you allan to give me new inspiration so many times with your amazing site.
    i love leonards handwriting…..you can see that he´s so unique and he gives a meaning to everything.

  5. Hello… Great post… A more accurate link to the “A brief biography of Sanfield can be found at Warrior Poets.” is here:

    Steve Sanfield – Warrior Poets http://bit.ly/1ab27Yd