With genuine platonic Love, the beautiful or lovely other person inspires the mind and the soul and directs one’s attention to spiritual things. The most correct use of Love of Human beings is to direct one’s mind to love of divinity.
‘Suzanne’ was inspired by Cohen’s platonic relationship with Suzanne Verdal and describes the rituals that they enjoyed when they met: Suzanne would invite Cohen to visit her apartment by the harbour in Montreal.
She would serve him tea, and they would walk around Old Montreal past the church of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, where sailors were blessed before heading out to sea.
Cohen stated in a 1994 BBC interview that he only imagined having sex with her, in 2006 Verdal says that she and Cohen never had a sexual relationship.
She says she has met Cohen twice since the song’s initial popularity; once after a concert Cohen performed in the 1970s and once in passing in the 1990s when She danced for him, but Cohen did not speak to her (and possibly did not recognise her).