I cam across a fine article from Laurence Freeman OSB in his July newsletter for TheTablet.
The opening paragraph begins:
"In a YouTube worth watching, the charmer Leonard Cohen charms a glittering Spanish audience during an award ceremony for his poetry. First, he said, he felt false in accepting a prize for something he had no control over: poetry came from a place which ‘no one commands and no conquers’.
Then he confessed his debt to Spain. What little he knew of the guitar he had learned from a young Spanish musician whom he had met briefly before he took his own life.
Cohen confided that all his music was based on the few chords he learned from this doomed teacher.
“This land” had given him that much; and then, a momentous throwaway line for that audience, ‘I know that just as an identity card is not a man so a credit rating is not a country’.
I managed to find the video and it is a remarkable acceptance speech for the Prince of Asturias Poetry Award 2011.
You can read the rest of Laurence Freeman's article here
How I Got My Song
English Transcript here