Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love is renowned filmmaker Nick Broomfield’s most personal and romantic film of his storied career. The documentary starts on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960, where Leonard Cohen, then a struggling and unknown fiction writer, and Marianne Ihlen, a single mother with a young son, became part of community of expat artists, writers and musicians. Never-before-seen footage shot by Broomfield and legendary documentarian D.A. Pennebaker make for a unique portrait of an idyllic 1960’s bohemia. It was a time that left a lasting imprint on both Marianne and Leonard, whose friendship would last another fifty years before their deaths in 2016.

Leonard’s letter to the dying Marianne:

Well Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless Love, see you down the road.

Marianne died July 26, 2016 (aged 81); Leonard died November 7, 2016 (aged 82)

Come over to the window, my little darling
I’d like to try to read your palm
I used to think I was some kind of Gypsy boy
Before I let you take me home

Now so long, Marianne
It’s time that we began to laugh
And cry and cry and laugh about it all again

Well, you know that I love to live with you
But you make me forget so very much
I forget to pray for the angels
And then the angels forget to pray for us

Now so long, Marianne
It’s time that we began to laugh
And cry and cry and laugh about it all again

We met when we were almost young
Deep in the green lilac park
You held on to me like I was a crucifix
As we went kneeling through the dark

Oh, so long, Marianne
It’s time that we began to laugh
And cry and cry and laugh about it all again

Your letters, they all say that you’re beside me now
Then why do I feel alone?
I’m standing on a ledge and your fine spider web
Is fastening my ankle to a stone

Now so long, Marianne
It’s time that we began to laugh
And cry and cry and laugh about it all again

For now I need your hidden love
I’m cold as a new razorblade
You left when I told you I was curious
I never said that I was brave

Oh, so long, Marianne
It’s time that we began to laugh
And cry and cry and laugh about it all again

Oh, you are really such a pretty one
I see you’ve gone and changed your name again
And just when I climbed this whole mountainside
To wash my eyelids in the rain

Oh, so long, Marianne
It’s time that we began to laugh
And cry and cry and laugh about it all again

1967

I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm
Your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm
Yes, many loved before us, I know that we are not new
In city and in forest they smiled like me and you
But now it’s come to distances and both of us must try
Your eyes are soft with sorrow
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye

I’m not looking for another as I wander in my time
Walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme
You know my love goes with you as your love stays with me
It’s just the way it changes, like the shoreline and the sea
But let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie
Your eyes are soft with sorrow
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye

I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm
Your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm
Yes, many loved before us, I know that we are not new
In city and in forest they smiled like me and you
But let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie
Your eyes are soft with sorrow
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye

1967

Like a bird on a wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
Like a fish on a hook
Like a knight in some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee

And if I, if I have been unkind
I just hope you will let it go by
And if I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you

Like a baby stillborn
Like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out to me

But I swear by this song
And by all I have done wrong
I’ll make it all up to be

I saw a young man leaning on his wooden crutch
He called out to me, “Don’t ask for so much”
And a young woman leaning in her darkened door
She cried out to me, “Why not ask for more”

Like a bird on a wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free

1969

featured image: James Burke/The LIFE Picture Collection  (Getty Images)