Song for Leonard

When I was younger I would dream
about a man, his face unseen,
who’d sing each night in one bar or another.
I’d hear his melancholy tune,
then ask the cold indifferent moon
if somewhere on this earth I’d find a brother.

But then one evening, long ago,
a song came on the radio:
“They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom…”
and gravel tones told gritty truths
of man and woman, poet, muse,
and all the tangled paths that lie before them.

Oh, that voice spoke as one who knows
about the world, the way it goes.
I knew at once that he would be a favourite –
for it’s not often that you see
a Jew use Catholic imagery,
or hear a Buddhist monk praise naked ladies.

The years went by. I met my muse
who luckily loved Leonard too –
his music underscoring our encounters.
So many times we’ve shared a glass,
raised in salute to one now passed;
a dead man’s lyrics whisper still around us…