She had married Jensen, and they had a son, little Axel.
Jensen was not a constant husband, however, and, by the time their child was four months old, Jensen was, as Marianne put it, “over the hills again” with another woman.
The teller said that he had just returned from a trip to Greece. Not long afterward, he alighted in Athens, visited the Acropolis, made his way to the port of Piraeus, boarded a ferry, and disembarked at the island of Hydra.
With the chill barely out of his bones, Cohen took in the horseshoe-shaped harbor and the people drinking cold glasses of retsina and eating grilled fish in the cafés by the water; he looked up at the pines and the cypress trees and the whitewashed houses that crept up the hillsides. Eventually, he bought a whitewashed house of his own, for fifteen hundred dollars, thanks to an inheritance from his grandmother.
A memorable photograph of her, dressed only in a towel, and sitting at the desk in the house on Hydra, appeared on the back of Cohen’s second album, “Songs from a Room.” But, after they’d been together for eight years, the relationship came apart, little by little—“like falling ashes,” as Cohen put it.
Even before he had much of an audience, he had a distinct idea of the audience he wanted.
In a letter to his publisher, he said that he was out to reach “inner-directed adolescents, lovers in all degrees of anguish, disappointed Platonists, pornography-peepers, hair-handed monks and Popists.”Cohen was growing weary of London’s rising damp and its gray skies.
The way Marianne remembered it, he seemed to radiate “enormous compassion for me and my child.” She was taken with him. “A lightness had come over me.”Cohen had known some success with women. For a troubadour of sadness—“the godfather of gloom,” he was later called—Cohen found frequent respite in the arms of others.
As a young man, he had a kind of Michael Corleone Before the Fall look, sloe-eyed, dark, a little hunched, but high courtesy and verbal fluency were his charm. He tried out his new discipline on the family housekeeper, and she took off her clothes.