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In 2013, poet Niall O'Sullivan's The Mundane Comedy used Dante's terza rima to document a year of his life, detailing big current events, intimate everyday happenings and "the tired rope bridge of opinion that naturally forms between the two". Touching and amusing in turns, O'Sullivan's poem is well worth dipping into on any day of his - or your - year. However, my ambition is somewhat different: firstly I have deliberately gone for the indefinite article and title my work A Mundane Comedy, as while Dante (and who knows, if he is picked up by the right publisher, perhaps O'Sullivan too is for the ages).
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"So come, my friends, be not afraid.
We are so lightly here.
It is in love that we are made;
In love we disappear."
Happy posthumous birthday, Lenny.
You tried, in your way, to be free. Thank you. Now go join that great gig in the sky. So I wrote a year ago, when Lenny left us. However, the legend lives on - listen for example to How the Light Gets In.
'We Love Leonard Cohen' celebrated his 81st Birthday, and then, for his 82nd and final birthday, Leonard gave us a present. "You Want It Darker" is the title track to last album, his 14th studio album in his 49-year recording career. (See also Leonard Cohen Makes it Darker.)
"Leonard Cohen offers the possibility of living with grace, dignity, and integrity, without submitting to illusions, without succumbing to indifference, and without indulging in denial of our own failures and flaws, in a world that is too often corrupt and malevolent" - Allan Showalter
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I was first attracted by Camus, "prince of the absurd" when I was 16. Camus still fascinates me, now well beyond what would have been his 100th birthday, and close to 60 years after his premature death in a car crash in Burgundy (it's said that he was found with an unused train ticket in his pocket - he'd planned to go by rail to Paris to rejoin his wife and children, but had accepted at the last minute the offer of a lift from his publisher).
During these dark days of worsening refugee crises, can we still imagine reaching a state of "xenophilia"...overcoming our "homophily", i.e. the love of that which is like us, and reaching the love of that which is different?
Indeed, if we're ever going to care enough about conflict, genocide, poverty, hunger etc. enough to act on them properly, then we need to try much harder to avoid conflict with people we might not yet fully understand.