Saturday, 9 July 2011

Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah

Grand Marnier on a cold night in March~ Photography by me (I chose this photo because I can still remember late nights filled with tears and lots of Grand Marnier with Leonard Cohen as the soundtrack of that moment in my life)

The people at One Stop Poetry are spotlighting Leonard Cohen today.

When I read that my heart skipped a beat. I have been listening to Leonard Cohen for years. Well, everyone has, haven't they? Suzanne on the radio is background music to my oh so formative teen years. And then in college I discovered Death of a Lady's Man (I still have a beat up Penguin edition somewhere). The English Professor I was having an affair with (another story) was quite amused when he saw it on my bookshelf. I use to read from it for him...

I have such a full schedule this weekend that I don't have the time to give Mr. Cohen the homage he deserves, but thought I would share the lyrics to one of my favourite songs. I still have to stop for a minute to listen when I hear it regardless of who is singing:

Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen

Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Perhaps later, I'll write a thank you note to him for getting me through any number of break-ups, betrayals, deaths, losses, failures, etc. 

Here's a lovely version from YouTube:

like moving
through dark
smoke filled rooms

Those same dark
smoke filled rooms
that remind me of you

that make me
reach for sunlight
like a forgotten houseplant
ivy, slowly
curling in on itself

I remember you.


  1. ah i love this song by cohen...and your verse is nice as well...smoke filled rooms and plants to sunlight...nice pairing

  2. Yes Love this song too and for want of better put it on my post too. Loved your write.

  3. Yes, surely these words and the voice that sings them must have helped countless people through trying times. I love your words too, the smoke-filled spaces, and the search for sunlight. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post with us.

  4. Love him! Love him! Love him! Love him!
    And your poem is in his vein.
    Great work!

  5. Thank you so much for your kind words. I am so thrilled that you all *get* my post and the amazing Leonard Cohen!x

  6. I love Leonard Cohen too - reminds me of my first experience of living independently - sharing a house in London with a bunch of friends - Suzanne, The Sisters of Mercy, Hallelujah and more!

  7. That's one of my all-time favorite songs! Thanks!

    Mad Kane